How to Train Your Dog to Wait

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Teaching your dog to 'wait' is about teaching him patience. You do not want to be bowled over when you are opening the door to let your dog outside. Likewise, if your dog is in a vehicle, you probably don't want him running out of the vehicle until you are ready and have him under your control. Dogs are eager when it comes to meal times and receiving the occasional treats. When your dog is impatient, it makes it difficult for you to prepare his food. Teaching your dog to wait not only teaches him manners but also gives you time to prepare for what's next. Once you teach the command 'wait', you might find you use it often. Dogs are eager and usually impatient. 'Wait' is a command you can use every day once your dog has it mastered.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your dog the 'wait' command will begin with piggybacking on commands your dog already knows. Putting your dog in a position such as 'sit' or 'down' and asking him to wait might be a little confusing at first for your dog. because he already understands 'sit' and 'down' and may not understand what else you want him to do. Dogs who are just learning the 'wait' command may understand you want them to do something, but because they are not sure what to do, they may stand up and sit back down and stand up again, a little confused as to what your expectations are. Be sure if you are teaching the 'wait' command that your dog already has a complete understanding of simple commands such as 'sit' and 'down' so he can understand which position he should be in while he waits.

Getting Started

As with any other obedience training, to get started you will need to have treats for rewards. To effectively teach your dog to 'wait' you will want a screen door or a gate where you can separate yourself from your dog while allowing him to still see you. You will also want a leash on hand if you’d like to train him to wait while walking on a leash. Have some patience and be prepared for your dog to be a little confused at first until he understands waiting is just being patient. 

The Screen Door Method

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Step
1
Door between
Put a screen door between you and your dog so he can hear and see you, and ask him to 'sit'.
Step
2
Ask to wait
Once he is in sitting position, ask him to wait. Hold one hand out, palm facing the dog and screen door.
Step
3
Open the door
Slowly open the door. If your dog moves, close the door.
Step
4
Hand signal
Start again with the hand signal and the command word, “wait.”
Step
5
Repeat
Keep repeating this process until your dog stays still and waits for you to enter through the door.
Step
6
Enter
Once you can enter without your dog moving, give him a treat. You may have to open and close the door several times before your dog stops moving.
Step
7
Reward
Be sure to reward your dog every time you can open the door and walk through without the dog moving. Each time he moves, close the door and start over.
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The From a Crate Method

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Step
1
Hand on the door
With your dog in the crate, place your hand on the crate door.
Step
2
Command
Before opening the crate door, say the command “wait.”
Step
3
Open the crate
Open the door a bit.
Step
4
If your dog moves...
If your dog moves forward, close the door and repeat the command “wait.”
Step
5
Open the door wider
Each time you give your dog the 'wait' command, open the door a little wider. Each time your dog moves before you are ready, close the door.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat the steps above until your dog remains still while you open the door to let him out.
Step
7
Reward
Once you can get the door open without the dog moving or lunging toward you, let him out with verbal praise and a treat.
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The On a Leash Method

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Step
1
On-leash
Starting in your home or your backyard, begin a small walk with your dog on a leash.
Step
2
Walk, stop, face
Take a few steps with your dog. Stop. Then face your dog.
Step
3
Palm out
With your palm out facing your dog, put your hand up and say the command “wait” while blocking his path forward.
Step
4
Treat and release
Once your dog stops walking, give him a treat. Wait another few seconds and give your dog a release command such as “release” or "OK".
Step
5
Wait then repeat
Wait a few seconds and move a few more steps. Repeat the above steps until your dog is used to the command and stopping and staying still when you ask him to wait.
Step
6
Step away
Once he has this down, take a step away from him once you ask your dog to wait.
Step
7
Release
After a few seconds, release him with the release command and give him a treat.
Step
8
Practice
Practice this with your dog for several weeks before taking him off leash. During each training session, be sure to reward your dog for positive behaviors. With each session, walk farther away from your dog. Reward for waiting and then release your dog.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 01/31/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Foucault
Mutt
7 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Foucault
Mutt
7 Months

He wakes up at 6-630am and his walk is around 7am. We would like to make his walk 730am. However, he gets really excited and bitey when one or both of us are awake. Sometimes he waits patiently before we wake up other times he chews on something that he's not supposed to. He sleeps on his bed next to our bed and can easily jump onto our bed when he's bored.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gab, Is that walk pup's first chance to go potty after waking up? If so, at this age they will probably need to go urgently enough you won't be able to put it off to long without risking an accident, until they are older. If pup is taken potty, then walked later in the morning than the potty trip, I recommend teaching pup Place and Out and enforcing pup stay on place. To encorce Place, keep a drag leash on pup in the morning once they are awake. To enforce Out after pup has bern taught Out, use the sectiom on how to use out to deal with pushy behavior grom the Out article below. Leave It for biting: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place - have pup work up to a 1 hour Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Finally, another option. to get pup to sleep in is to crate train pup. Once awake, pup will still need to be taken out to pee though. Surprise method for crate training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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