How to Train Your Dog to Wait

Teaching the 'Wait' Command

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 wait to move forward until you release him. It's helpful to prevent him from bolting out the door or out of his crate. It's easy to teach your dog to wait.

Here's how to do it:

What You Need

You don't need any special equipment to teach your dog to wait. In this instance, instead of giving your dog a food reward, he'll be getting a life reward. In other words, being allowed to go outside or get out of his crate is all the reward he'll need.

When to Use the Wait Command

The "wait" command can be used in several situations. Use it before allowing your dog to go out into your yard, and before you walk him outside on a leash. You can also use "wait" when you are letting your dog out of his crate.

Teach Your Dog to Wait

You don't have to have a separate training session to train your dog to wait. You should work on the "wait" command every time you let him outside or release him from his 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 go outside or get out of his crate, start by giving him the command "wait." Open the door a little bit, and if lunges forward to get out, close the door quickly. Give him 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.

In the early stages of training, reward any hesitation.

If you give your dog the "wait" command, and he hesitates, praise him and open the door. As you open the door, use a command that lets him know it's okay to move forward, such as "free" or "go ahead."

Once your dog begins to "wait" when you give the command, make him wait a few more seconds before you release him.

Once he's holding the "wait" command for several seconds or longer, you can begin to open the door a little wider. Be ready to close the door quickly any time your dog starts to bolt or lunge outside or out of his crate.

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

Edited by Jenna Stregowski, RVT