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Teach your dog to wait before going through open doors

Training Exercise Socialization Development Adult
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Teaching your dog to wait patiently for a command before going through an open door is a valuable skill that can make your life easier and keep your pup safe. Let’s explore the benefits of teaching this command, steps to train your dog, and tips for reinforcing the behavior.

The Benefits of Teaching Your Dog to Wait at Open Doors

Before we dive into the training process, let’s consider the benefits of teaching your dog to wait at open doors:

  • Increased safety: By preventing your dog from rushing out, you reduce the risk of them running into traffic, getting lost, or encountering other hazards.
  • Better control: Having your dog wait for your command before going through a door gives you more control over their behavior and movements.
  • Reduced stress: A well-trained dog that waits patiently can make outings and arrivals less stressful for both you and your pup.

Steps to Train Your Dog to Wait at Open Doors

Now that we’ve established the benefits let’s walk through the steps to train your dog to wait at open doors:

  1. Start with the basics: Begin by teaching your dog the “sit” and “stay” commands, as these will be essential for the waiting behavior.
  2. Practice at a closed door: With your dog on a leash, ask them to sit and stay at a closed door. Slowly open the door, and if your dog remains seated, reward them with treats and praise.
  3. Gradually increase the challenge: As your dog masters waiting at a closed door, progress to opening the door slightly, then wider, while still rewarding them for staying put.
  4. Introduce the “wait” command: Once your dog is consistently waiting at an open door, introduce the “wait” command before opening the door. Reward them for staying until you give the release command, such as “okay” or “free.”
  5. Practice in different locations: To reinforce the behavior, practice the “wait” command at various doors and in different environments, such as at home, at the park, or at a friend’s house.

Tips for Reinforcing the “Wait” Command

To ensure your dog consistently waits at open doors, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be consistent: Always require your dog to wait before going through an open door, and use the same command and release word each time.
  • Reward good behavior: Consistently reward your dog with treats and praise when they wait patiently at an open door.
  • Practice regularly: Incorporate the “wait” command into your daily routine to maintain the behavior over time.
  • Gradually increase distractions: As your dog becomes more proficient, practice the “wait” command in the presence of distractions, such as other people or animals, to strengthen their response.

Troubleshooting Common Challenges

If you encounter challenges while training your dog to wait at open doors, consider these troubleshooting tips:

  • Rushing out: If your dog continues to rush out, go back to practicing with a closed door and gradually increase the difficulty.
  • Inconsistent response: If your dog only waits sometimes, ensure you are consistently rewarding the desired behavior and practicing in various environments.
  • Distractions: If your dog gets distracted easily, increase the value of the rewards you use and practice in low-distraction environments before progressing to more challenging situations.


Teaching your dog to wait before going through an open door is a valuable skill that enhances their safety, improves your control, and reduces stress. By following the steps outlined in this article and consistently reinforcing the behavior, you can help your furry friend master the “wait” command and enjoy calmer, more controlled outings together.

Remember, every dog learns at their own pace, so be patient and persistent in your training efforts. If you encounter challenges or have concerns about your dog’s behavior, always consult with your local veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for personalized guidance.


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