Wouldn’t it be great to have a dog who waited patiently in the car (or house) until you told him he could get out? Even with the door open? No more scrambling to get a hold of him before he launches out!
Wait is a great way to teach your dog not to pass through a doorway until given permission. It can be used for doors in and out of the house as well as car doors.

How is “wait” different from “stay”?

“Wait” simply asks your dog not to go through a threshold/doorway. He can sit/stand/down/move around, he just can’t go through the door.

Teaching “Wait”

  • The main goal here is to give our dog binary feedback
    • Staying behind the door threshold is rewarded!
    • Moving over the threshold before we say “okay” makes the door shut.
  • Choose a door to start. The door should be an indoor one with no access to the outdoors.
  • Stand on one side of the door with your dog. Ideally, stand on the side that the door swings away from.
  • Crack open the door. If your dog does not attempt to go through, toss a treat behind his front feet.
  • If your dog moves toward the door, shut it immediately (but gently!). Wait 3 seconds and reopen.
  • Repeat until your dog is reliably staying away from the door.
  • Repeat the same sequence with the door increasingly open.
    • Open the door a few inches.
    • Open the door 1-2 feet.
    • Open the door all the way.
  • Repeat while you step to the other side of the door.
  • Start by just taking one step. Toss the treats behind your dog’s front feet to reward.
  • If your dog walks toward you, shut the door and wait 3 seconds before opening it again. Be careful not to squish toes!
  • Once your dog waits for 3 seconds, toss a treat, then release him to come through with “okay!” and encourage him to pass through the door.
  • Set up on the other side of the door again and continue this until your dog can wait for up to 30 seconds with you next to the door, tossing treats intermittently.
  • If your dog makes it through the door without you saying “okay!”, that’s okay. Bring him back to the other side and make the next repetition a little easier. Build on success!
  • Once your dog can do this, you can practice:
    • Going further away.
    • Using different doors.
    • Adding distractions!

Safety First 🙂

Teaching “wait” is a great way to increase safety, but there’s no way to guarantee it. (We can’t guarantee anybody’s behavior 100% of the time.)
  • If your dog is working on not dashing out a door to the outside world, it’s a great idea to have a back-up safety net (like a long line or gate), especially while training.
  • If you’re working on car doors, we recommend practicing in your garage first, and then in a very low-traffic area with a leash back-up.
  • Use your best judgement and err on the side of caution. Maybe your dog is great at waiting in the car normally, but now there’s three dogs walking down your street towards your driveway, and two of them are barking. Rather than test him, keep him safe!
Running into a challenge? Let your trainer know so we can help you troubleshoot!