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Information Connection: Training Your Dog to Wait

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Is your dog a waiter?

By Sally the Trainer, of

For more tips on helping your dog be his or her best, see

Sally's Angels Training Tip:   The best command in the world. Wait.

Wait is a life saver. Your pooch's life. When a dog learns to wait, then the chances of the dog's running out the front door and/or into the street become less. Practice this command everywhere. Wait for service dogs means don't cross this threshold or line. Wait in a room and don't come into the next, wait in the house while you go outside and leave the front door open, wait at the curb and don't go into the street, etc. For someone in a wheelchair, the dog needs to wait often.

Wait until the chair goes thorough the door first and then you are commanded to follow. Wait at the curb. Wait in the car, etc. Wait to be fed. Wait is a wonderful command for any dog owner.

 How do I train, you ask? Easy. Always use wait in your daily tasks. When you go on walks say wait when you come to a curb or a spot in the road where there needs to be caution. Say the command a few feet before you are ready to stop, then stop and make the dog stop. Do not use a flex leash to train on this one! A short training leash please. In public, I say "Wait" step, step, stop. "Good wait." "Sit." "Good Boy." (I usually have the dog sit at curbs for safety reasons while he is waiting). Have the dog at your side when you are walking in public.

Practice wait at the door or room by saying "wait" then walk away. Put the dog back when he starts to follow you across the threshold, and say "no" or "don't." Start slow. Have the dog wait at a threshold only for a few seconds at first before you say "Good Wait." Then, release the dog. The command for releasing the dog is "Release." But you could say anything, as long as it is consistent.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. This where a leash is the best training tool you have IN THE HOUSE. Periodically put the pooch on his/her leash in the house, and as you walk thorough a doorway say wait. You go through the doorway and the dog stays. Then release the dog to follow you with lots of hugs and pets. If you do it as part of your day, s/he will learn it fast. Let's say someone comes to your front door. Talk to the person on your porch and have your dog wait on the house side of the threshold (the door is open). Praise your dog off and on while s/he is waiting at the door. "Good wait. Good wait." Release your dog when you want him/her to leave the area. The more you do it, the longer s/he will learn to wait.

Wait is not a stay command. Stay is one spot. When you are confident that the dog knows wait then try a flexi-leash and teach him to wait when he is farther away from you.

Some places to use wait:

  • at thresholds (don't cross this doorway or area, but the dog can wander around in the room if he wants)
  • at food dish until you tell him/her to eat
  • at curbs and streets (means stop and don't cross until you say so)
  • at car (you need dog to wait so you can load something first, then command "car" or "get in")
  • in car ( you want dog to stay in car while you take stuff out for instance, then command "out")
  • in yard (wait in yard while you take out trash, for instance)


Have you ever wondered about those seeing eye dogs, police dogs, and the dogs who assist the mobility-challenged? How do their trainers get these dogs to perform with such precision and reliability? Well, we refer to these dogs as service dogs, and you have to agree they are wonderful. At, we recognize them as the angels they are.

The "secret" to their training involves two factors: "repeat, repeat, repeat," and consistency. These are two factors you can apply to the training of any dog, to forge a mutually beneficial and happy relationship. Don't give the command if you are not going to enforce it. And use lots and lots of praise--this is the reward dogs most enjoy. You'll find the dog will reward you, too.

Special note on Sally's Angels: is a fun site about and for service dogs.  Service dogs are our passion. Be sure to visit TLCSD, Tender Loving Canine Service dogs, to read about their unique way of training service dogs. And make sure to follow our monthly progress report of a TLCSD dog in training. Service Dogs really do make a difference in people's lives. They truly are angels.

Thanks for the free tips, Sally. Mindconnection is proud to host your article, and we recommend to anyone interested in dogs.
-- Mark Lamendola,

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