How to Train Your Puppies to Stay or Wait?

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It’s important to train your puppy to stay or wait. Otherwise, it can get very risky and even dangerous each time you open the front door or gate. Untrained puppies can just make a run for it. And they can get themselves in all sorts of trouble and accidents when they just bolt out the door and head straight for the streets.

This scenario can also put pet owners in unfortunate situations and liabilities. Your puppy can easily knock down incoming guests and passersby causing third party injuries. And what if it’s you who gets knocked off your feet on the steps or in the snow?

So you must train your puppy to stay or wait. And if you’re looking for tips on doing that, this article is right for you. Here we discuss what you need to know in training your puppy to stay and wait.

Introduce the Cue Word or Signal for Your Puppy to Stay or Wait

This is a basic step. Your dog must find the cue it can associate with your desire for your pup to stay or wait. Whatever word, sound, or signal you use, make sure it’s specific and constant. Don’t keep changing the cue.

Use Mealtimes to Train Your Dog to Stay or Wait

Chances are, you’ve already taught your dog to sit. If not, you better start with that skill first. It’s important for keeping an orderly mealtime for your young canine pet.

Make the dog sit while you prepare. Then when the dish is ready, delay in releasing the food for your dog. Say the cue word for staying or waiting for several times. Then give the release signal for your dog to move and start eating. Do this each mealtime.

Use Doorways and Doors to Train Your Dog to Stay or Wait

This training exercise should happen at least once daily and naturally. As you pass through the doorway or enter the room, give the cue word or signal for your dog to stay or wait. It shouldn’t go past the doorway with you. It should pause and wait for you to give the release signal or command for it to move and go through.

This may be hard at first, especially if your puppy loves trailing you all the time. Just be patient.

Bullcitydogs / Flickr

A simpler way to teach this is to use doors because they open and close. Train your puppy like this:

  1. Open the door.
  2. Tell your dog to stay.
  3. Place a treat in the other room.
  4. Tell your dog to stay.
  5. Repeat the cue word or signal several times.
  6. Then give the release signal or word for your puppy to go through and get its treat.

In the early stages of training, your dog may insist and try to push its way into the room where the treat is. Just hinder its path or close the door. Say ‘no’. Then leave the area. Come back to that room later and resume training your dog. Do this repeatedly until your pet catches on.

Remember to close the door each time your pup gets all excited or lunges. Open it when your puppy starts to relax and stand or sit in attention. Close the door again if it tries to bolt through. Soon, your pet will realize that the door is open for access only when your pup is calm and waiting (or staying).

Use Situations to Train Your Puppy to Stay or Wait

Don’t avoid the opportunities you can teach your puppy to stay and wait. Some owners choose to lock their puppies in another room or their dog houses. Then they open the door for guests or open the front gate for cars to drive in or out.

Andrea Arden / Flickr

But this habit is an avoidance tactic that will not help with your puppy’s training. It may even fail to understand that it’s not supposed to go out. It will just get the idea that you don’t want it to be part of that experience of greeting guests and watching cars leave or arrive.

So don’t just keep locking it up. Give it your trust after a while of training. Maybe put some leash on initially. Or have your foot ready to block your pet when it tries to go out the door.

Affirm Your Puppy with Praise and Rewards

Dogs love hugs, pats, and rewards. So give your puppy a lot. This will encourage your pet to continue positive behavior. You can even use a special treat for this training exercise. This way, your dog realizes that there’s that special treat whenever it stays and waits.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to train your puppy to stay or wait as soon as you take this new pet on. Create and use situations to use the training steps we’ve suggested here. Dogs learn by exercise. So train it to learn this skill multiple times in a day. Happy training!

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