4 Times Your Dog Should Know How To Wait Instead of Stay

I like having a reliable “wait” command in puppy training.

However, I think it is more important to have a reliable “stay” command.

If your dog doesn’t know “stay”, he will probably struggle with “wait”.

So the burning question is, “What is the difference?”

“Stay” means to halt in one place without moving, even shifting positions or sides is not desired.

“Wait” means that the dog should not cross a specific boundary but he doesn’t have to stay put in one specific place without shifting.

For Instance

If I ask my dog to “down and stay”, he lays down with his right hip on the ground. I want him to stay in that position without shifting, until told otherwise. This is a very important command because I know exactly where my dog is and will be as we are training.

If I tell my dog to “wait” as I step outside the front door to bring in a package, I expect my dog to not cross the boundary of the front door, but she doesn’t have to stay frozen in an exact position while I disappear and return.

And, again, I think if your dog isn’t capable of controlling himself for long enough to learn “stay”, then the broader idea of “wait” will be even more difficult for him.

So, work on some impulse control and tackle that first!

Tackling the STAY Command in the Most Positive Way to Ensure Success!

Here Are 4 Times Your Dog Should Know Wait Instead of Stay:

4. Going Outside and Coming Back In

I like my dogs to have manners! I don’t want them flying through the back door either going outside or coming back in.

Although, I know that both times can be exciting.

Sometimes I ask for a very specific form of obedience like a “sit” and “stay”.

However, most of the time I just want my dog to “wait” at the threshold until told otherwise.

3. Coming Out of the Crate

I also don’t want to be “knee capped” when I let my dog out of his crate.

dog stay, dog wait, puppy trainingRecently, I was working with a client whose dog not only has bruised up her legs by hitting her with the crate door, but he also gets overexcited when he is outside of the crate and begins jumping up on her and biting at her.

When he is extremely overexcited, he is unable to control his impulses like he normally would.

So I recommended that she teach the dog to “wait” in the crate, which will help him to compose his mind before exiting the crate, which then increases his ability to continue the good behavior when he comes out of the crate.

Make sense?

If you are insane and out of control, you have little to no ability to control your behavior.

If, however, you are required to show some focus before you get what you want; you will likely keep some of that control!

2. In the Car

Many dogs are taught to jump out of the car, when they get to their destination.

And, like the above example, the dog is excited and his habit is to jump out and run around.

However, sometimes dogs jump out of cars at inappropriate or inopportune times and the owner has little to no control.

This can put the dog at risk for getting hit by cars.

I have literally seen clients who are terrified because they know they have to grab the dog and get the leash clicked on as fast as possible because the dog will be leaping out the moment the opportunity arises.

Instead, making the dog “wait” for a moment to get his leash clicked and to put him in the right frame of mind is critical for good behavior, and everyone’s safety.

Your dog is capable of learning to control himself, but you must require it of him!

1. At the Front Door

The last thing I or my clients want is a dog that darts out the front door.

This behavior is often deadly.

dog stay, dog wait, puppy trainingThe dog is so excited, and when in overdrive he doesn’t even recognize the danger.

I teach all of my dogs to respect the door and to perform a formal “stay” while I come and go.

Why not jump right to “wait”?

Because “wait” allows for more freedom of behavior, and I need to be able to trust the dog first.

For example, I often prop the front door open while I carry groceries into the house and my dog knows that when I ask her to “wait” she can’t cross the threshold.

I don’t care if she goes and lays in the kitchen, or if she watches me from the door; but I don’t want her coming outside.

This requires a dog whose behavior you trust, which requires time and training!

But, it is nice because I don’t have to worry about her running out the front door and into or down the road!

It is wonderful to live with a well trained dog whose behaviors you can trust!


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  1. Jackie says:

    I make my dog sit and wait at the door before I let her out but my husband just let’s her bark and jump around. This is dangerous because he’s 88 but will not listen to me


  2. Pat Kirby says:

    An 88 year old dog? Wow! It is a wonder that it is not deaf by now at that age. Maybe that is why it does not listen.


  3. Kat says:

    I’ve had dogs all my life and tried many training methods with various levels of success through many dogs. My dogs know they have to do things to get things and have all been good companions, though some took awhile to get to that stage. I’d never heard of you, but after watching your video on training a dog to wait at the door, I became a follower of yours. I already knew how to keep my dogs from barging out of a crate, but making them look me in the eyes while they wait for my permission to go outside made a believer out of me. We currently have 2 house dogs. They both sit and wait and know both of them have to look at me until they get a “yes”. This one behavior has made life with them much easier because they’re so much more engaged with anything we do. Thanks!


  4. robert says:

    Works like magic!!!


  5. Barb Rogeness says:

    I also really recommend the seat belt for dogs. It clicks into the seatbelt in the back seat and attaches to the harness. The dog has to be harnessed. They can’t possibly physically bother the driver and they can’t possibly jump out. I got it at Mud Bay for under $10. It’s so worth it! That doesn’t mean learning how to stay isn’t important, but what if your dog sees a squirrel?


    Minette Reply:

    My dog has been taught to ignore distractions in the car.


  6. Christine says:

    I think my dog knows the difference between stay and wait. We practice it at the door because he used to bolt. I have him sit then i say wait as he looks at me then open the door and say wait and he cant go out unless he is looking at me. Now if everyone in the family would say the same thing. Thats how i train my horses too staying consistent with each command.


  7. Barbara says:

    I think she means her husband is 88 🙂


  8. Billie says:

    I just got a mini English Bull Dog, He is good to a point and listens to me, but the bully comes out and he is hard to deal with. He goes crazy and runs amock jumping on the furniture and trying to nip us. How do you deal with this. He is 14 weeks old


    Minette Reply:

    I would look into our impulse control program


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