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Wait

Wait means, "Hold on for a second. I will tell you what to do next in a moment."

Wait is a useful skill for keeping your dog safe while going through doors, coming out of the car or coming out of the crate. It is also helpful for situations when you want your dog to hold still but be ready to respond to the next signal.

Step 1: Hold still while I move forward.
You may use an open doorway, or any other threshold to teach this step. Two chairs spaced 2-3 feet apart will work. Walk up to one side of the doorway and say, "Wait." While you are standing still, give your dog a treat. Release him, and continue through the doorway. Gradually add movement forward before stepping back to treat your dog. Walk up to the threshold, say "Wait," and move one foot forward without shifting your weight. If your dog is successful, click, step back, and reward him. Next, move your foot forward and shift your weight. If your dog is successful, click, step back, reward, and release him. Next, take a step before clicking your dog for staying still, and then step back to reward. Always release your dog before moving through the threshold together. When you can walk forward three or four steps to the end of a 6 foot leash before clicking, stepping back to reward and releasing, move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Hold still while I prepare to open the door to the crate/car/house.
In this step, you are teaching your dog that the cue, "Wait" is more important than whether the door is open or closed. This is tough for dogs to grasp, especially if an open door has typically preceded a burst onto the other side while barreling you over or ramming your knees. Start with small steps and reward your dog for each success. Begin by walking up to the door, saying "Wait" and then placing your hand on the door handle. If your dog stays still click, treat, and release them prior to opening the door. It may be helpful to ask your dog to sit before telling them to wait. When you can put your hand on the door and rattle it while your dog stays still, move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Hold still even if the door to the crate/car/house is open.
Be ready to shut the door if your dog bursts through the door before your release word. If your dog succeeds in barreling through, bring him back and try again. We do not want this rude (and potentially unsafe) behavior to work for him! Walk up to the threshold, say "Wait" and quietly open the door an inch or so. If your dog stays still, click, reward, and release him prior to opening the door and moving on together. If your dog moves, simply shut the door and start again. Keep working until you can swing the door all the way open before clicking, rewarding and releasing your dog.

Step 4: Hold still while I move away from the opened door.
Now you can put it all together-start to add a couple of steps forward through the door or backing away from the crate or car before clicking, stepping back to reward, and releasing your dog. You may also wish to proof for the distraction of clipping on his leash before releasing him. Never again will you be afraid to open your car door in a busy parking lot!