29 Jul How To Prevent Your Dog From Running Out The Front Door…
Whenever I go to people’s houses who have dogs, 9 times out of 10 they have to hold their dogs back while letting me in the front door. If they weren’t holding them they’d be gone out that door so fast your head would spin. This is what we dog trainers like to call “Door Dashing.” Door Dashing is one of the main reasons dog’s not only escape from home and run away but also get hit by cars. It’s a vital element of dog training that so often gets overlooked and it’s a technique I often show on “Lucky Dog” when I have a bad door dasher. Well look no further because here’s a step by step process how to fix this problem for good. Let’s break this down…
First thing’s first…we’re gonna need some tools. All you need for this one is a 20 ft foot lead and a good bag of treats they like. And as always be sure your dog is hungry when training. Now we’re all geared up and ready let’s begin…
Step 1. Walk your dog to the front door. Be sure the leash is attached to them but you won’t need to hold it. Just let it drag.
Step 2. Open the door just an inch or 2 and quickly shut it. Most likely your dog tried running out the door even with that 2 inches of room. Wait for your dog to settle down. This could mean they back off or even sit/lie down. Preferably back away from the door a few feet. Most dogs back away. For those that don’t simply back them up.
Step 3. Once again open the door but this time you’ll open it 3 inches and shut it right away. Again you’ll wait for your dog to settle down and back away from the door.
Step 4. This time you’ll open it 5 inches and quickly shut it. Waiting for them to back away and settle down.
Step 5. Once they’ve become conditioned to the command and aren’t running out the door it’s time to teach them the next phase of the process. You’ll open the door all the way and if they don’t run out, pay them and praise them. This will solidify the command. Once again you’ll repeat the process of opening the door, paying and praising them for good behavior. Be sure to keep your praises short and sweet.
Step 6. Now it’s time to teach the “OK” command. This is where you’ll teach them when it’s ok to cross the threshold. Open the door and assuming they don’t run out I want you to hold them there for a few seconds. Once they’ve stayed you’ll simply pick up the leash, say “OK” and walk them out the front door. My general rule is that they’re never allowed to cross that threshold unless they’re on leash. Period.
This process is to be repeated over and over. You’re not gonna continue to open the door further and further till they’re content with the level it’s opening at the time. In other words they must graduate to get the door to open another inch. Most dogs get the message after the first 5 to 10 times of doing this so by the time you reach a foot they should just simply watch the door open and close without moving. Your goal is to open the door all the way and they stay there. If they decide to run out the door you have two options. Either close the door before they get there or step on the leash. That’s what it’s there for. Another good way to stop them from bolting out is to either stomp the floor or quickly give them an “Ah, Ah!” as they’re running out. This often stops most dogs in their tracks. The secret to this technique is beating them at the game. Bad behavior is often a game that they’re good at because they’ve gotten away with it for so long. If you turn the tables and make the game of bad behavior not fun anymore they’ll simply give up.
A couple things to point out here. This is basically a silent command so you don’t necessarily need to say “Stay” while training this but it’s a ok if you do. I choose not to because I want them to respect the front door as a place that’s not to be crossed unless I say so with or without a “Stay” command. Technically the door opening is the command. Also be sure to baby step this. Don’t move on to the next inch until they’ve mastered the inch your on. Some dogs will appear to be content with the door opening 8 inches and suddenly at 9 inches they try and bolt out. Simply take it back a few inches. This is the process of conditioning. All we’re doing here is conditioning your dog 1 inch at a time. And of course be conscious not to slam the door in your dog’s face. Remember to take things slow and follow through and never give up when your dog is having a stubborn moment. If you give up all you’re doing is showing your dog your breaking point and they’ll challenge it in the future. Try it out and let me know how it goes. Ruff.