Waiting is a good skill for any dog to have in his repertoire. Wait at the door. Wait at the gate. Wait while I put your food bowl down. Wait to get into the car. Wait to get out of the crate. Wait is primarily a safety behavior, but it’s also a polite behavior, too.
We teach wait at the door (or gate, as in this video) pretty much the same way we taught wait at the food bowl:
- With clicker and treats, put your hand on the door knob (or gate handle). Click and treat if your dog stays still. Repeat two or three times.
- Put your hand on the door/gate and just turn (or lift) the handle. If the dog is still, click and treat. Repeat two or three times.
- Put your hand on the door/gate and open slightly (just a crack). If the dog is still, click and treat. Repeat two or three times.
- Gradually at each successive trial, open the door/gate an inch further. If the dog is still, click and treat. Repeat two or three times.
- If the dog moves forward at any time, simply and swiftly close the door. Be careful not to catch your dog in the door, however.
- If your dog has a hard time doing this at the main door, use a bedroom or closet door to practice.
- If your dog is having a hard time getting it right (if you’re clicking and treating only 1 time a minute, let’s say), make it easier for your dog to get it right. Instead of going for opening the door an inch, for instance, go for opening the door 1/8″. Find a way for your dog to get it right.
- While a clicker isn’t required, you’ll find faster progress using one as it helps clarify to the dog what needs to be done to earn the goodie.
Uses for Wait
I find wait useful in so many situations. Levi has to wait as I open his crate door so he doesn’t knock me over. All the dogs need to wait before going out our garage door into my open vehicle to prevent chaos as the door opens. All dogs have to wait for me to release them to get out of the car so I can be sure I have all the leashes in my hand. All four dogs wait for me to put their food bowls and/or food stuffed toys on the floor to avoid knocking the items out of my hand.
How do you use wait? Leave a comment and let me know!