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Teaching your Dog to Wait at the Door

Teaching your Dog to Wait at the Door

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

  Teaching your Dog to Wait at the Door

Is it sometimes a struggle for you to get in and out of doors with your dog? Does your dog try to leap out of your vehicle before you can get a leash on him? 

Not only is this a dangerous problem (your dog could get hit by a car or just run away) but it also sends the wrong message to your dog.

Teaching Wait is much like teaching Stay. The difference is Wait is a command where the dog can be sitting, standing or lying down.   Wait means, "don't move until I release you".

Wait can also be used when letting your dog out of the crate.  When It’s PAWSible! had it’s dog day care in operation,  we had up to 30 dogs a day visit us.   We had a nap time where the dogs were in their crates for a couple of hours mid day.

When it was time to go back outside to play, the dogs were not allowed to barge through the crate door.  We taught them quickly that if they didn’t paw or push at the crate door, they could come right out.  If they were pawing or barking or whining, we would just say “wait” until they settled down.  Then they would be able to come out of the crate and go outside to play.  

So how do you teach this command to your dog? SIMPLE!

First have an image of what you hope for your dog to do. Visualize you telling your dog to wait at the door with the door wide open and your dog not moving until you tell him he can. Or imagine your dog in the car and waiting for your release with the car door wide open.

Now, the training session:

Go to your door with your dog on leash. Although a particular position is not necessary, to speed up the training, have your dog “sit”.   Then say “wait”.  Put your hand on the door knob. If your dog gets up, say AH, AH! And take your hand back off the knob. Have your dog sit and repeat “wait” and try again.   Be sure that you do not open that door until your dog maintains the sit. Then once the door is open, he or she will probably get up again. Once again, stop, have your dog sit and continue.

Try not to let your do go out the door until you say "okay" or "release".

Do this EVERY TIME your dog goes with you out the door. If you have multiple dogs, all the more reason to do this.

Try the same thing with the car door. Now you are on the other side of the open door so you may have to move fast if your dog starts to come out. Also, in this case, you don't have to have your dog sit first.

Just say "wait" and start to open the door. If you see your dog trying to barge through the door, say "ah ah! And stop opening it. Work up to getting your door open while your dog is waiting for his release. Be ready for quick attempts to "bust out".

Before you know it, your dog will have learned this really great lesson in patience and you will find going out the door with him or her a much nicer experience.

Give it a try.  Be confident, I’m sure your dog will learn this really fast.