Teaching your dog to “Wait” or “Stay”

Narrated from: Dog Training

The “wait” or “stay” commands are the same thing; it simply depends on which word you prefer to use. Make sure you are consistent with whichever word you choose to use. If you try and use both you will confuse him and he may never learn what you want him to do. The “wait” command is used any time you want the dog to be still for a period of time. You can use it as a distraction to keep him from getting into trouble, you can use it to put him on hold and it can also be used to keep him from running out the door. Dogs that run out the door have cultivated a really bad habit and it can result in the dog being hit by a car.

The easiest way to teach a dog to wait is to use the door. Go to the door as if you are leaving; your dog will probably go to the door with you. Tell him “Wait” and start to open the door. If he moves at all, slam the door shut. Hold your hand out flat in front of him when you use the command so he has a hand signal as well as a verbal command. Hold the door knob with one hand as you hold your other hand flat with your fingers up and repeat the command to wait as you turn the knob. If even a muscle flinches, shut the door. Keep practicing this until he can sit completely still when the door opens. When trained properly, a dog can sit and look out the door for long periods of time and never try to run outside. You will need to stand in front of the door until he gets a better understanding of the command.

As soon as he can stay still with the door open shut the door and praise or treat him. It won’t take long for him to understand what you want him to do, and he will do it consistently. You can gradually move back from the door as long as he doesn’t move. When you start trying to back away from the door you may want to practice this with him on a leash, just in case he tries to flee. Dogs are pretty amazing and training them is often much easier than you think it will be. They only want to love you and make you happy so the only hurdle is making him understand what it is you want from him and he will give it to you.

Hand signals are important when you are training your dog. They can see the smallest movement in you, often just before you actually make a move. This makes it very easy to add hand signals as you do your initial training. Your hand signals can be anything you want them to be as long as they are completely consistent. If you change them he won’t understand what you want and you will confuse him, making training more difficult.

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