Teaching Wait at the Door

“Wait at the door” differs from stay in that your dog will get to move forward after given permission.  It doesn’t matter if they sit, lie down, or stand as long as they don’t move forward without permission.  We first use the door as the prompt, but later a wait can be executed anywhere. We will put the cue on the behavior from the beginning because we have a way to ensure the dog’s success.  Say, “Wait,” wave your hand in front of your dog from left to right, open the door an inch, as soon as your dog looks away from the door, click or say, “Yes!” and treat.  Repeat several times.  I suggest alternating permission to “Let’s go” through the door (to something exciting on the other side) with a reward on your side of the door.

Steps to building the behavior include opening the door a little more at a time, increasing how long your dog waits, and escalating the excitement level of things on the other side of the door. Only make one thing more difficult at a time.

When you can open the door all the way and your dog will wait for quite a while, start taking a step forward through the door.  Step back to your dog and reward.  Build to walking away. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your door open while you bring your groceries in the house and know that your dog won’t go out the door? 

This training tip is contributed by Kari Koulmentas CTC, CPDT-KA of San Francisco, CA. Kari is a canine behavior counselor and trainer and competes with her mixed-breed dog in AKC Agility.