Karen B. London
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I Love “Wait”
It’s my favorite training cue.

I am so fond of the cue “Wait” that I wrote a column called An Ode to ‘Wait’ to express my enthusiasm about it. This cue tells a dog to pause and not to move forward until given permission to do so. It can literally be a lifesaver at doors to both houses and cars because it can prevent bolting out into traffic. Additionally, it can be a sanity-saver when heading out for a walk because it stops the chaos that naturally results from dogs who are so eager to go out for a walk that they act like they are out of their minds.

Here’s a video of Tyson

, a Pomeranian who stayed with us for a few days when his family was out of town. The video was taken after just one session of teaching Tyson to “wait.” He got better at it over the next couple of days. It was much more fun to take him out for walks when he was calm than when he was leaping and spinning around.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Shira | October 5 2009 |

Yes, and thanks to you and Patricia's training book "Feeling Outnumbered?" for putting me on to the "group wait" at the door to control more than 1 dog (on our case, 3 young whippets). Sooo much better than their all cramming their noses into the door jam and then bursting into the hallway like it's spring break in Cancun.

Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | October 6 2009 |

"Wait" is an awesome exercise to teach your dog. It has helped immensely in getting our Collie out of the car while I put his leash on, and he's very good going outside using our back door. But because we never use our front door (except when company arrives) that particular "wait" is a work in progress. LOL The payoff for sneaking past Mom and getting to the screen door first to welcome whomever is visiting is just too good, so we continue to work on that one. :D

Submitted by Chuck Swanson | October 8 2009 |

That is exactly what I do with my doberman - going out, coming in, getting in car, getting out of car, etc., etc. and it works great ! !



Submitted by Carolyn | October 15 2009 |

My girl has a pretty nice "stay." But I trained "wait" quite by accident -- just sort of conversationally as the situations arose. Her "wait" is totally awesome and so useful.

Submitted by lazlo | October 16 2009 |

I found it a lot easier to teach "wait" than "stay" because it means he's going to get the thing his mind is set on. The thing he's waiting for. "Stay" just means he may or may not get something I decide is enough reward for complying with my arbitrary request. I find myself saying wait when I mean stay because I know It's more likely to get the response I want.

Submitted by Kate | October 28 2009 |

I love "wait" too! I use it when walking with my hound mix around my property--I have to keep an eagle eye on him because he would like to run off and chase deer. If he starts to get further ahead than I would like (the critical distance after which the deer may be TOO enticing and "selective hearing" kicks in) I ask him to wait, and he stops and waits. So many uses around the house as well. No stress, no fuss, and truly a lifesaver -- a rock-solid 'wait' is the simplest emergency brake!!

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