How to Train Your Dog to Wait

As dog owners, we all want a four-legged pal who is obedient, polite and well-behaved. That’s why if you’re like me and trying to teach your pooch some patience, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my tried-and-true tips for how I trained my own pup, to wait on command.

Teach your dog to sit and stay.

The first step in training your dog to wait is teaching your dog to sit and stay. The sit command is a very useful one for training, not only because it’s the default position for dogs, but also because it’s a great place for them to be while you’re waiting with them.

For example, if you’re at someone’s house and don’t want your dog pulling on their leash or getting into things (like being picked up by small children), having him sit while they greet each other will help eliminate any accidents from happening.

The easiest way to teach this behavior is through luring your dog into a sit position with treats or toys and then rewarding him when he stays in that position for about five seconds—any longer than that, and he’ll lose interest in what he was doing before and start wandering off again!

Start in an area with few distractions.

Start in an area with few distractions. For example, work on training in your backyard or a quiet park. Be sure to pick an area where you can control the environment and be ready for it if your dog wanders away from you while you are working on training.

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When your dog is focused on you, make sure to reward him with praise and treats so that he continues performing the behavior correctly.

Now add distractions.

Now that your dog knows what to do, it’s time to add some distractions.

  • Bring in a toy
  • Bring in a friend
  • Give your dog a treat or food reward for waiting.

If you want to get fancy, you can even lure him into position with the treat and/or toy. Just make sure you don’t accidentally lure him into jumping up on people or furniture!

Try your stay with an open door.

  • Open the door and let your dog go through it, then reward.
  • Close the door, wait a few seconds and open it again, rewarding if they don’t go through on their own accord.
  • If your dog begins to dart through the doorway before you finish opening it all of the way, try closing the door on them for just a second—the millisecond it takes for them to slip through before they realize they can’t get out again should be enough to deter this behavior in future attempts at passing through an open doorway without permission (and appropriate rewards!).

Make it harder.

The next step is to make the wait harder. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Add more distractions. If your dog is accustomed to waiting for treats when you’re around, but not when you’re out of sight at the grocery store, try adding another person and a car driving by. The more distractions there are in the environment and the more things competing for your dog’s attention, the longer it should take him to come back from his distraction and resume waiting.
  • Make it longer than usual—but not too long! You want your wait time to be challenging enough that your dog has an incentive not only to stay put but also come back quickly after being distracted by potential rewards (like treats). But if he doesn’t get rewarded before he loses his patience or gets distracted by something else exciting in his environment, then he’ll stop coming back altogether!
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You can train a dog to wait, but it takes time and dedication.

Training your dog to wait is possible, but it takes time and dedication. Dogs are much better at waiting than people give them credit for. A lot of the time, we don’t even have to train them, they just sort of figure it out! But when that doesn’t happen, it can really help to start with some basic training and work your way up. Your dog will be waiting for you in no time!