How to Train Your Dog to Be Patient

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Dogs can be some of the most impatient beings on the planet. When you ask if they want to go for a ride, they are practically in the car before you can even turn to find your car keys. If you have food that you are preparing for yourself or for them, they are literally drooling before you can even get the package open. 

If your dog is not patient, he could become obnoxious and dangerous. Dogs who are impatient tend to jump all over their owners because they can't wait and are so excited they don't know how to control it. Some dogs aren't patient enough to wait for food and will bite the hand that feeds them. Teach your dog to be patient and to wait so he not only has good manners, but is also a little calmer until he gets what he wants.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to be patient can be as simple as training your dog to wait. There will be different scenarios when you do need your dog to be patient, whether it's opening the door for him to go outside without ruining the screen, the curtains, or your pants or waiting for food without jumping on you or the counter or stealing food from your hand before you're ready to give it to him. Teach your dog to be patient with the things he's most excited about. This could include activities, tasks, and food. Do not give in to your dog and allow him to have the things or activities he wants until he is patient. Giving in will only teach him that behaving obnoxiously will get him what he wants. 

Getting Started

To train patience with your dog, you will need lots of tasty treats and actions or activities your dog will be eager to do. If your dog is one to jump all over the screen door before you can get to the door to open it, then that is the place where you need to start your training. If your dog often goes for car rides and is so excited that he's jumping all over the car, that's a great place to train as well. Start training your dog to be patient when it comes to food and then work on activities.

The 'Watch Me' Method

ribbon-method-1
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Step
1
Attention
Take a walk together and get your dog’s attention by saying his name.
Step
2
Stand still
Once you have his attention, stop walking and don’t move. Wait until your dog stops and stands or sits with you calmly.
Step
3
Treat
Hold up a treat to your face close to your nose or eyes so your dog looks at your face. Say the command "watch me."
Step
4
Reward
Once your dog looks at you and gives you his attention, give him verbal praise and the treat as a reward.
Step
5
Repeat
Repeat these steps in various situations, practicing the ‘watch me’ command. When your dog stops and gives you his attention, give him a treat.
Step
6
Practice patience
Begin to have your dog practice patience by using the ‘watch me’ command any time he is too excited or impatient. This command gives pause to the event taking place and forces your dog to wait patiently until you are ready.
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The 'Wait' Method

ribbon-method-2
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Step
1
Start on-leash
Put your dog on a leash and take a short walk together. You can do this in your home or in your yard. This doesn’t need to be a long walk.
Step
2
Stop
After taking a few steps, stop and face your dog.
Step
3
Hand signal
Hold your palm out toward your dog and say the command "wait."
Step
4
Stop dog
Block the dog’s path while keeping your hand up, palm facing out toward the dog.
Step
5
Dog stops
Once your dog stops walking, give him a treat.
Step
6
Walk more
Walk a bit more with your dog and continue to stop and ask him to wait. When he stops with you, give him a treat.
Step
7
Practice
Continue to practice the 'wait' command while on walks together. Begin to use the command more in everyday situations such as when he wants to eat, get in the car, or go outside to keep him from being too excited and reacting in an obnoxious manner.
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The Bowl of Treats Method

ribbon-method-3
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Step
1
Bowl
Get your dog’s food bowl and place some high-value treats in it, but do not set it down right away.
Step
2
Start to Lower
Lower the bowl in an effort to set it in place. Expect your dog to react and rush to the bowl.
Step
3
Negative behavior
If your dog rushes the bowl or shows impatience, pull the bowl back up and take a step away from your dog.
Step
4
Be patient
Tell your dog to 'be patient' and try to set the bowl down again.
Step
5
Repeat
Repeat the steps above until your dog is patient and allows you to set the bowl down without rushing you or the bowl. This will take lots of practice and encouragement to be patient.
Step
6
Reward
Once your dog waits patiently for you to set the bowl in place, let him eat the treats from the bowl.
Step
7
Practice
Keep practicing the ‘be patient’ key phrase and use these steps for other times your dog is impatient.
Step
8
Manners
Expect your dog to be patient any time he is overly anxious and excited for something he wants. For instance, if he is used to jumping on the door when he wants to go outside, ask him to be patient and take a step back away from the door ,waiting for him to back up and wait patiently for you to open the door. Just be careful making a house training puppy wait to go outside.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 12/15/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Sadie
Pit bull
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sadie
Pit bull
2 Years

Sadie is a dominant dog and has perfect commands inside the house but at dog parks for instance has no patience or common sense of her training

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lacey, Often dog parks require an off-leash level of training, where pup has been specifically taught to obey even in high distraction environments. The level of arousal while at a dog park is often high, making it harder for pup to engage with the thinking part of her brain to obey known training. What pup probably needs is to avoid the dog park for a while and instead pursue environments with other dogs around where there is structure and obedience practiced within that environment, so pup is learning better impulse control even around dogs. A few ways to work toward this are: join structured heeling walking and hiking dog groups, join an off-leash obedience class where this is specifically practiced, recruit friends with other dogs to practice things like Stay while other dogs are being called to Come and running past, and utilizing a long training leash, work up to off-leash around those dogs with all the commands you are practicing together, if the dog park is fenced, go to the nearby green space where pup can see the fenced dogs but isn't in the fence themselves and practice all pup's obedience commands with the other dogs in sight with the safety of the fence between, using a long training leash. Check out the Come article I have linked below, and specifically the sections on using a long leash and the Premack principle. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ These types of training shouldn't be practiced while in the dog park though for safety reasons. You will need to set up your own training practices with a friend in a private fenced area or join a class where that's facilitated for you. You also don't want pup practicing ignoring your commands at the dog park while still working on this, so I would avoid the dog park for a while until pup's obedience around other dogs is reliable consistently also, practicing in the other situations mentioned to gain that reliability in the meantime. https://www.youtube.com/c/JamiePenrithDogTraining Also, be aware that if aggression is an issue at the dog park specifically, that there are some dogs who simply shouldn't go to the dog park period. Dog parks tend to be highly arousing environments for a dog. The high level of arousal can be hard for certain dogs with certain inherit characteristics to calm themselves back down to. Once their arousal gets too high is often turns to aggression, and the more they practice that cycle or arousal and aggression the worse the aggression often gets. These dogs instead, often need to avoid those environments and pursue the more structured environments like heeling hikes and walks long term instead. Some dogs can build impulse control enough through the other training that this improves, but for some dogs this is hard wired in their genetic make-up and you need to train accordingly to give them the best outcome for who they are. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Kai
Golden Retriever
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Kai
Golden Retriever
2 Months

My puppy is very impatient, likes to chew every moving things. Bites me. Pees inside.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Prativa, At this age pup lacks impulse control. Their level of patience will increase gradually as they mature but also as you teach them other manners and commands that should help their level of focus and ability to learn in general increase gradually too. Often very young puppies need to be rewarded for very small amounts of progress while learning something new, like rewarding a dog when they lift a paw an inch off the ground when learning to shake paws - you reward the small steps that lead to the correct action, until they can do the entire command or trick. It can also help to have multiple 10-15 minute training sessions, instead of less frequent longer ones, since puppies this age tend to loose focus quickly. For the chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Potty training - crate training and/or tethering methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside For the biting, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite . When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cola
Siberian Husky
4 Months
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Cola
Siberian Husky
4 Months

Hello,

I have a 4 month siberian husky who used to play bite non stop. She was also pretty much aggressive around food. He will growl and bark whenever someone pass by behind her. I can't even reached for her bowl even if it's already empty unless she walks away. I recently sent her to a behavioral modification training for 2 weeks and I guessed she improved. I can now pet her anytime without me worrying she would snap at my hand. Shr also doesn't randomly attacks us with play bite anymore. I can say she is a lot more manageable. I can now say "no" and stop her from what she is doing. When it comes to feeding, I can proudly say I taught her not to bark and get excited whenever she see me coming with her food. I still feed her with me holding the bowl as advised by the trainer so she will be comfortable with me. I also pet her while she's eating, although there's still a little low growl from time to time it subsides throughout the meal. She is the same with water, I think she's kinda obsessed with water. One thing that alarms me recently is how she gulp my whole hand whenever I try to hand feed her. I used to do that with her when she camr back but she was calm before licking the food. After a week she is starting to bite my whole hand. She would start with licking and suddenly eats my hand so I have no other choice but to just let go. She even put force with it and it drew blood one time. What's strange is she is only like this on a particular food, I mean the one that she eats during regular meal time, she doesn't do that with treats or whenever I try to feed her dry food after her meal to see if she would do the same. But she just calmly licks at it. I'm quite confused if this is still being food aggressive or she's just too excited around food. Any insight will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Charina, It sounds like pup has a lot of defensiveness and anxiety related to food. When you are holding her food bowl while she is eating, I highly recommend making that a pleasant experience for her instead of a stressful one. Since she doesn't seem to like touch while eating, I would periodically give her a piece of something that's even better than her food throughout the meal, since pup isn't associating the touch as something positive but as something stressful. You want pup to associate your presence with something good and not stressful. The stress will increase defensiveness. When you go to give pup their kibble in your hand, practice a couple of things. Work on teaching Wait, feed it to pup flat palmed normally, and when pup goes in for the food roughly, pull your hand back and put it behind your back until pup is waiting again, then repeat. When pup goes for it more gently allow pup to have it. Keep your attitude calm while practicing. Reacting excitedly or loudly can get pup even more excited, even though it can be hard to stay calm when pup is being rough. Wait: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsDy2a2YefE Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Empathy
Border Collie
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Empathy
Border Collie
2 Years

She is usually quite good in controlled environments. We've improved her reactions up to the point where she doesn't lunge towards every dog she sees or crosses by with minor exceptions. However, when the other dog barks or provokes her, she reacts barking and lounging (never biting), and she's had two bad encounters where the other dog's owners have kicked her to keep their dogs away from her. I'm scared that this might some day get her injured. How can I train her to ignore a dog provoking her?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell her fear. First we reduce her fear around new dogs/people, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at her (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

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Azula
Lab/Pitt
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Azula
Lab/Pitt
8 Months

My dog is very impatient, she also likes to jump on people when she sees them. I’m just curious if you have any tips?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Savannah, I recommend working on some commands that help build self-control, and the article I have linked below for the jumping. Jumping - leash method when there are guests to keep them from getting jumped on in the process. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Building self-control commands: Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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