How to teach your dog ‘wait’

How to teach your dog 'wait'

Learn how to use the wait command to teach your dog good impulse control. #dogtrainingtips #obediencetraining #dogtips via @gonedogmad1

If you’re sick of your dog rushing to the door every time someone knocks it, or you just want five minutes peace on the loo. There’s no denying the wait command could be pretty handy.

But it’s also useful in many other situations too. As I mentioned in another post, it’s helpful when you’re playing dog hide and seek, but it’s also great for perfecting their recall.

We all love our dogs, but sometimes we just need them to sit still while we do human things. Putting on your socks in the morning is a lot harder when pup thinks it’s an invitation for tug of war.

One of Loki’s favourite behaviours, I might add!

Loki has a near perfect response to wait. But it didn’t start off that way. It took a long time for her to realise what we wanted. So bear in mind, part of establishing this training is consistent reinforcement.

We use wait in various circumstances every day. To get her to wait in her bed while we fill up the dishwasher, (otherwise she’d have her nose straight in there!) before we cross a road, or before we open the front door to head out for a walk.

It’s there to stop our dogs getting themselves into dangerous situations, to curb their excitement levels, or just give you a moment to get on with life.

It’s must-have obedience training for any dog loving family.

A quick note: I’m not a professional dog trainer or anything of the sort. These are simply training techniques I’ve learnt from a qualified trainer and perfected with Loki. There are also affiliate links in this post. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only give recommendations for items I’d use myself and feel will benefit my audience. Thanks for supporting our blog!


A step by step guide

The aim of this training is for your dog to sit still when told and only come to you when called.

So let’s walk you through it.

  • Start with a handful of treats. Ask your dog to sit. Hold your hand in front of their face and say ‘wait’.
  • Now back away slowly with your hand still raised.
  • If pup starts to follow you, don’t say anything. Simply take them back to the same spot and try again.
  • Take it slow and move one step back. If pup stays still, go crazy with praise and excitement. Call them over to you and give them a treat.
  • Repeat the above steps as you move further and further away each time. If your dog starts to move you may have gone too far too quickly. Just go back to the last distance you were successful and keep building from there.


Your dog will soon realise they don’t gain anything from moving. They’re stuck in a boring loop of being moved back to where they started. But staying still gets them lots of positive attention and a tasty treat.

Soon enough the response will come naturally and you won’t need the treats anymore.

You can see how this exercise is also good for mastering their recall. Every time they wait and come when called they’re rewarded with lots of love and treats. They learn to associate coming back to you with something positive.

It can take years to master a reliable recall. Getting your dog to respond instantaneously to being called is tough going.

And as Loki is an independent and inquisitive little lady we’re still working on it today. But every single time we call her and she comes back to us, she is rewarded with praise and treats. And as a result, her recall improves every day.

But that’s the kind of commitment it takes.

Try it, and let me know how you get on. Here’s Loki bringing her A game.

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