How to Train a Puppy to Wait at the Door

Begin basic training when your puppy is 8 weeks old if you can.
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New puppy? Your work's cut out for you. Besides the all-important housebreaking, you'll need to teach him manners so he can live in society without offending. Such devilry as jumping on people, barking, chasing, and running off at every chance are up to you to nip in the bud. Teaching him to wait quietly at the door is an important measure whose primary elements are foundational to any dog's obedience in general.

Sit, Stay

Step 1

Teach your dog the Sit and Stay commands so you can use them combined to halt him when the door is opened for any reason. Begin by attaching your dog's leash and showing him you have a treat. The treat must be tiny enough to eat in one bite so it won't take time away from the training. Sit and Stay, combined, are the building blocks of teaching him not to rush the door when guests arrive. As you're ready to beckon the dog to sit, ensure your is focused on the treat.

Step 2

Hold the treat just above your dog's head and slowly move it toward his rear. When the puppy looks up to follow, his back end will naturally lower to the ground. When his rear end touches the floor, say, "Sit," and then immediately praise him with "good dog" or "good sit," and give a small treat. If you are clicker-training, click; say, "Sit"; and give the treat. If the puppy does not sit, remain quietly waiting, showing him the treat and don't repeat the command. If he still does not sit, gently push his hind end down, and when he gets close to the ground, praise, or click, and treat. Repeat until he sits on his own.

Step 3

Teach your dog the Stay command once he is reliably sitting on command. With your dog in the sitting position, hold your hand out in front of him, palm out -- as if to say hi -- and say, "Stay." Turn around to walk away. Never walk away backwards, that technique is used for the come command. If he follows you, turn back around, put him back in the Sit position and try again. Once he reliably sits and stays, begin training him not to rush the door by opening the door and reminding him he is in a Stay. To be safe, keep the leash on your puppy so he doesn't escape out the door.


Step 1

Teach your puppy the Wait command instead of the Sit and Stay. This command is more appropriate for when you are taking him for a walk and leaving together.

Step 2

Ask your dog to sit while you attach the leash. Then open the door. If your puppy rushes ahead of you, gently hold him back and say, "Wait." Close the door and try again from the Sit.

Step 3

Open the door while firmly holding the leash so the puppy cannot move in front of you. Pretend to walk through the door by taking a step over the threshold with one foot. If the puppy tries to run in front of you, step back and say, "Wait." Whenever you are able to successfully walk through the open door in front of him, give him a treat. Continue to reinforce the Wait command. This command will come in handy when you have to stop before you can cross a street or if the puppy escapes. It works well with the Come command that's part of canine basic obedience training.


  • Do not use a choke or pinch collar during these training sessions. If your puppy is strong and you cannot physically restrain him, use a head halter collar instead.


  • Enroll your puppy in a basic training class for your safety and his.

  • Use a small cat treat or broken bits of hot dog as rewards, as both are easy to chew and most dogs find them irresistible.

Items You Will Need

  • Treats
  • Leash and collar
  • Clicker (optional)