Training Your Dog to Wait

Happy to visit... but can't wait to go home.A dog facing a closed door with travel bags at side, waiting for Master to take him home.
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The "wait" command tells your dog to stay where they are and not move forward until you release him or her. This command is especially helpful to prevent your dog from bolting out the door or out of the crate.

Luckily, you don't need any special equipment to teach your dog how to wait. Instead of giving your dog a food reward, you can simply teach your dog that responding to the command means being allowed to do certain things. Plus, the "wait" command can be used in several situations. For example, you can use it before you walk him outside on a leash.

While it can be a challenge to teach a dog a new command, it's fairly easy to teach your dog how to properly "wait."

How to Train Your Dog to Wait

Thankfully, you don't have to have a separate training session to train your dog to wait. To practice, use the "wait" command every time you let him or her go outside or leave the crate. Once you begin working on "wait," your dog should never be allowed to bolt outside or lunge out of his crate.

When your dog is ready to explore the yard or leave the dreaded dog cage, start by giving him or her the command "wait." Then, open the door a little bit, and see if he or she lunges forward to get out. If so, close the door quickly. Next, try to give your dog the command again. Each time you give the command, open the door slightly and close it quickly if your dog lunges forward to get out.

Reward Good Behavior

In the early stages of training, reward any hesitation. If you give your dog the "wait" command, and he or she hesitates, praise them and open the door. As you open the door, use a command that lets him or her know it's okay to move forward, such as "free" or "go ahead."

Once your dog begins to truly "wait" when you give the command, make him or her wait a few more seconds before the release. When your pet holds the "wait" command for several seconds or longer, you can begin to open the door a little wider. However, you should be ready to close the door quickly, in case your dog starts to bolt or lunge outside again.

Practice Patience

After practicing "wait" for a few days, your dog should be able to stand still with the door wide open until you give him or her the command "free" or "go ahead" for release. Be sure to practice this from time to time and remember to frequently reward your dog for complying.

You can also teach your dog how to wait in other contexts, like waiting for food. Teaching self-control can be difficult for your dog, but similar to the aforementioned exercises, you can use a food bowl filled with treats. Simply lower the food bowl toward the floor, and get it to your knee without the dog moving towards it. Move the bowl back up toward you if your dog moves. However, if you reach your knee and your dog behaves, reward him or her with a treat. Simply repeat this cycle until the command "wait" is understood.