Ideas for cues: “wait”, “one sec”, “hold”, “pause”Dogs don’t naturally have city-smarts, so crossing a street is just crossing a street. Waiting for a traffic signal or an “okay!” is not intuitive for them. It is just so exciting to get to the other side! Unfortunately, it can be dangerous for us, the dog, and other people on the road. The wait cue teaches your dog to pause or stop at the curb until you give the all clear.How to teach it:Start at home with your dog off-leash
Say the cue “wait” and then bring a treat down right in front of their nose and let them have itMove around and repeat!Now let’s do it on leash!On leash in your home or yard, take a few steps forward and then say “wait” and then bring a treat down right in front of their nose and let them have itMove around and repeat!
Generalise it to a walk:On a leashed walk (not at a corner) tell your dog, “Wait” and then stop and bring a treat down right in front of their nose and let them have itContinue walking and repeat randomlyNow try at a safe corner!Be sure you are at a safe distance from traffic! Do NOT test this one at the very edge of a busy intersection in case your dog misses the mark. On a leashed walk, approach a curb or corner. Tell your dog, “Wait” and then stop and bring a treat down right in front of their nose and let them have it. You may choose to feed a stream of 3-4 treats in the exact same place and when it’s safe to cross, give them a cue that means “let’s go” and then cross the street. Repeat at every curb and corner consistently. Over time you can wean them off the food slowly.
Door-dashing is a favourite sport of most dogs. It is just so exciting to get to the other side. But in addition to being irritating to us, it can also be dangerous. Sometimes what is on the other side is a busy street. The wait cue teaches your dog to pause or stop at the doorway until you give the all clear.
How to teach it.
- At the door, tell your dog, “Wait” in a cheerful tone of voice.
- Begin to open the door (just by a few inches at first). If your dog starts to move to go out, close the door. Without repeating the cue, begin to open the door again. If your dog starts to move to go out, close the door again. Repeat this action, without repeating the cue, until your dog hesitates even briefly as the door is being opened. When your dog hesitates, give them a cheerful “Okay” and swing the door wide open, letting them through.
- At first, remember to only open the door a few inches so your dog can’t rush out. As your dog gets better, you can then open the door a little more.
- For this method to really take effect you need to be consistent. Ask your dog to wait at every door, every time.
Where else can I use wait?
- All doors (even ones that lead to safe places like your backyard).
- Getting in and out of cars.