How to Teach Your Dog to Wait before Proceeding

A dog that jets through an open door, races up and down stairs, and jumps into or out of the car the second the door opens is a danger to himself and to you and other humans — especially small, toddling humans. Prevent potential accidents by teaching your four-legged friend to wait until you tell him it’s okay to go in and out or up and down.

If your dog knows the Sit and Stay command, you can easily teach him door manners:

  1. Put your dog on leash, using the dead ring of the training collar.

  2. Neatly fold the leash, accordion-style, into your left hand, and approach the closed door you normally use to let him out.

    Make sure that you can open the door without your dog having to get out of its way.

  3. With a little upward tension on the collar, tell your dog to stay, and open the door.

    Release the tension, and he should stay. If he doesn’t, apply a little upward tension. Close the door and try again.

  4. When your pooch stays without any tension on the leash facing the open door, slowly walk through the door.

    If he tries to follow, apply upward tension on the leash to remind him to stay. Repeat until he stays without having to be reminded.

  5. Walk through the door and release him so he can follow you.

  6. Repeat the entire sequence off leash.

    After several repetitions, your dog should get the message and sit and stay on his own as you approach the door.

Some people prefer to go through the doorway first, while others want the dog to go through first. It makes no difference, so long as your dog stays until you release him.

Practice through doors your dog uses regularly, including the car door, especially exiting the car. Every time you make him sit and stay, you reinforce your position as pack leader and the one in charge.

For stairs, train your dog to stay at the bottom while you go up and vice versa. First, tell him to sit and stay. When he tries to follow, put him back and start again. Practice until you can go all the way up the stairs with him waiting at the bottom before you release him to follow. Repeat the same procedure for going down the stairs.

After your canine best friend is trained to wait at one end of the stairs, he will anticipate the release, and start releasing himself when he chooses. It may happen almost as soon as he grasps the idea, or it may take a few weeks or even months, but it will happen.

When he does begin releasing himself, stop whatever you’re doing and put him back, use the stairs, turn, count to ten, and release him. Don’t let him get into the habit of releasing himself. Consistency is just as important here as it is teaching any other exercise.

Motion means more to dogs than words, so make sure that you stand still when releasing your dog. You don’t want him to associate your moving with the release. Dogs are also time conscious, so vary the length of time you make your puppy wait before releasing him.

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