How to Teach Your Dog The “Wait” Command

“Wait” is a very useful command that you can teach your dog.

Teaching your pet how to wait is especially important if you are planning to work him all the way through off-leash obedience. It is one of the several safety commands that you can use to monitor him and keep him safe from potential danger.

There will be times when you need your dog to wait for you but not necessarily to be still. The “Stay” command would not be the appropriate command to use at such times. Also, there will be times when he will be in a hurry to have something or do something.

“Wait” will be the right word to tell him that he can have what he wants, but not right away.

Because dogs live in the present moment, teaching them how to “Wait” not only adds an interesting and useful word to their vocabularies, but it also adds a concept that is very difficult for them to understand. However, your dog can understand the meaning of the word “Wait” on a short-term basis.  The most effective way to train your dog to “Wait” is by tone of voice.

Keep in mind that the tone of voice is one of the most effective tools that you can use in dog training. Your pet needs to be able to understand your tone to properly respond to it.

To understand how this kind of training works, keep in mind that your dog is a pack animal and that you are his pack leader.

He looks to you for approval and direction. When he is doing something, anything at all, and you say a word, any word at all in a moderately disapproving tone, he will stop whatever it is he is doing because of your disapproval. For example, when you want him to wait at the bottom of the steps leading out of the park and you say “Wait” in a serious but not an angry tone, a trained dog– who should already be looking at you– will pause… waiting for the
next command. If he continues up the steps, say “NO, WAIT!” in a firmer tone.

The difference between the command “Enough” and “Wait” is that “Enough” means stopping the activity for now. On the other hand, “Wait” means a momentarily pause. In the example of a dog waiting to leave the park and jump into the car, the command “Wait” gives him the joy of anticipation.  It lets him know that if he pauses for a moment, then he can continue getting up into the car and that he has your approval.

Use the command “Wait” when you are putting his food down on the floor. Make him wait for a few seconds… just long enough for you to get out of the way before he starts to eat his dinner. When you’re ready, give him his release command, “Take a break!” or “Free!”

He can wait to get out of the car or to go out the front door. He can also wait for you to go first through doorways and down flight of stairs. “Wait” must always be followed by the release command to let your dog know it is ok for him to continue with the activity.