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.
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!
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.
Recently, 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.
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.
The 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!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.