"Wait", the other basic command
Megan Brooks CDT
The commands that come to most people’s mind when they think “basic obedience” are sit, down, stay, come and heel, but what if I told you there is another command that is so universal it can be used in nearly any situation?
The command I am referring to is “wait”. “Wait” means to stop in your tracks and wait for further instruction. Our dogs can learn to wait for permission to go through an open front door, to jump in and out of the car, before crossing the street and to eat food whether it is their own meal or food that has fallen on the floor. These are a few of many situations where this command can prove useful.
The ”wait” command serves other purposes besides just making your life easier. “Wait” can also be a clear message to your dog that you are the leader. When you ask your dog to “wait” and he does it, he is surrendering to you. When you become leader, your dog will begin to look to you for direction rather than always just doing what he wants to do. The “wait” command can also be an important safety precaution. Being able to ask your dog to “wait” for your permission to exit the vehicle or cross the street could save his life one day.
Teaching your dog to “wait” is fairly simple. Set your dog up in normal, everyday situations where he would normally take it upon himself to bolt through the door or gobble up the turkey you just dropped on the floor. As soon as your dog goes to move forward, physically block him and tell him “wait”. I use my index finger as the hand signal. Back up just enough to give him an opportunity to try to go for it again. When he goes to make a move, physically block him again and using the hand signal, repeat the command “wait”. Once he surrenders to your wait command, release him by stepping way back and giving an upbeat “OK!” Practice several times daily in any situation where this command could be of use.
Last Updated: Monday, December 14, 2009