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How To Train To 'wait' At The Front Door


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Hi all! I've had my hound Slink for a couple of weeks now, and since we have an unfenced yard, we're making it a priority to try to teach him to wait at the front door rather than try to push through. The problem is though that he's not picking up on it, despite me repeating the training dozens of times. What I do is this:

 

1) Leash up dog, get ready to go out. He'll be right by the front door at this point, excited to go outside.

2) Use my body to manoever him back 3 feet or so from the door, and block him there.

3) Say 'wait' in a low-ish, drawn-out voice,step back slightly for the door and reach for the door handle to begin opening the door.

4) If he starts to move forward, close the door (or stop reaching for the handle), use my body to push him back and repeat.

 

So maybe two or three times we've gotten him to pause for a noticeable fraction of a second when the door is open a crack. I'm taking this as a win when it happens, and saying 'ok go!' and letting him through if he's paused AT ALL. But the vast majority of the time, he just doesn't understand at all what I want. He tries repeatedly to get past me and get to the door when I'm blocking him.

 

Realistically, at this stage I don't think I can expect him to wait every single time we want to go through the door because we'll literally be there all day trying. Also my partner is not as good at being patient and doing this training every time, especially early in the morning when we're taking him out for his morning toilet break first thing. Is the fact that we aren't doing this training every single time going to mean he'll never learn, or will it just mean he learns slower? Does anyone have any tips for working with a dog that just won't wait? All the dog training guides I've read keep saying that this is a thing dogs pick up on really quickly! Well they haven't met my dog haha.

 

I don't know if it's easier to use a sit/lie down and wait combo rather than just having him stand there. We're still teaching him to lie down, but we haven't got that on a cue yet, so getting him to lie down and wait at the door is not something he can do just yet. I'm going to try adding a visual cue instead of just saying 'wait' because he isa very visual dog (even for a sighthound!), but I think the fundamental issue is that he's just not making the connection yet between his movements and the behavior of the door.

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Teach wait away from the door first on lead.say command, step 1 step away. Increase wait duration, increase length of leash. Once he gets it down practice at door. There are too many things going on at the door. All of this should click in a week. Hot dog slivers are great rewards.

Edited by cleptogrey
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Have the dog on a leash and take him to a door. Start to open the door and if he moves towards it, immediately close the door. In the beginning this might mean that you have opened the door just a sliver, because any forward movement from the dog no matter how small should result in you closing the door. Progress to the point that you can open the door without the dog moving towards it and then give your release word and let him move through the door. You can reward the dog before the release with treats if you want, but the release itself is super rewarding because it's what the dog wants.

 

This process might involve opening and closing the door in varying increments for several minutes before you manage to get the door open enough to safely pass through. I wouldn't make the dog wait long once the door is open enough to get through when you're starting out. Later one as they understand this concept you can have the door wide open and have the dog wait for a few seconds before letting them go through.

 

Note that if you want this to be an automatic response you shouldn't be telling your dog to "stay" when you start to open the door. Just open the door and close it again if he moves. This results in a dog that doesn't need to be TOLD to wait when a door opens but automatically waits to be told he can go out an open door. This way if a door accidentally opens when not expected, the dog doesn't just run out the door thinking "no one told me to wait".

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Note that if you want this to be an automatic response you shouldn't be telling your dog to "stay" when you start to open the door. Just open the door and close it again if he moves. This results in a dog that doesn't need to be TOLD to wait when a door opens but automatically waits to be told he can go out an open door. This way if a door accidentally opens when not expected, the dog doesn't just run out the door thinking "no one told me to wait".

 

Thanks, that's great advice! Now trying it without speaking to him. Still very little progress though :/

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We trained this on an interior door first - like the door between two rooms. The idea is that they are way too motivated to go outside that it overrides the thinking/learning part of their brain. Inside it is a lower-stakes, distraction-free environment.

 

Also personally I have had a lot more success using hand signals with my greyhounds first, then training the word. I don't know if it is me, the dogs, the breed, or what. So for "wait" I am standing next to them facing the same direction, then sweep my hand down across their line of sight.

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We trained this on an interior door first - like the door between two rooms. The idea is that they are way too motivated to go outside that it overrides the thinking/learning part of their brain. Inside it is a lower-stakes, distraction-free environment.

 

Also personally I have had a lot more success using hand signals with my greyhounds first, then training the word. I don't know if it is me, the dogs, the breed, or what. So for "wait" I am standing next to them facing the same direction, then sweep my hand down across their line of sight.

 

 

Ah yes, forgot that one instructor did interior door and had us go thru the door first, dog to follow. Just watch the tail.

 

Good tips thanks :)

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