How To Prevent Your Dog From Running Out The Front Door… - Brandon McMillan's Canine Minded
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How To Prevent Your Dog From Running Out The Front Door…

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.

– Brandon

  • Alvia
    Posted at 15:07h, 09 August Reply

    Brandon do you have a book on training. I live in N C and I love your show on training dogs. I have a whippet and she is has so much energy and I have a issue with her barking at people and cars. I try to get her to set and stop barking but she will no listen to me, HELP ME please. I sure hope you have a book so I can read it and learn from it .

    • Saba
      Posted at 23:11h, 10 May Reply

      hey there! checked out your weisbte and am very interested in your assistance. We have a year old lab X greyhound (so we found out afterwards!) and all in all he is an amazing dog, we got him at 8 weeks and he has been around our daughter who had just turned 3 and is amazing with her she lays on him..pushes him is kind of in an agressive stage right now and we try really hard to stress to her NOT to be like that lol but anyways he has never growled, snapped, bit or snarled at her..or anyone for that matter.. he is a very loving and affectionate, licky/kissy dog.however, we have a baby on the way, and my husband was just called into the military and will be going away for quite a while. Bentley(dog) seems to listen to my husband more than me they are BFFS. And Bentley has and always has had an issue with jumping up, and pawing at people lol not aggressively but its still super frustrating, and we are concerned with the baby on the way and such and just want to get him under control while hes still young.Let me know what you think and We’d love to meet!

    • Mild
      Posted at 02:44h, 19 February Reply

      Hello, as for yelping at your dog for biintg is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, this will ultimately get your child bitten! Shame on a vet for suggesting that! What you can try is constantly removing your dog from the situation with a firm NO! And then if needed put your pup in a time out like you would your child! Hope this helps!

  • Brooke
    Posted at 02:18h, 08 October Reply

    Will this also work for a dog that likes to try and go out the door when your trying to leave the house? My puppy doesn’t do it when people come in the house but he does try to run out when I am trying to leave the house to go to work or run errands or just go out in general.

    Posted at 16:31h, 18 May Reply

    Good morning Brandon,. I Love your show. Please, I need a lot of help with stopping my dog from barking at other dogs.. She barks at parks, in the car , walking her.. You name it. I want to take her to the park because we attend a lot of softball games. But she is disruptive with her barking! She is a Yorkie ( Nialla) will be 3 years in June. Now, we also have two other dogs another Yorkie (Bruno) 1 year in June and Chihuahua mix (IVORY) that is 5-6 months. . . She found us! Anyway they are starting to pick up Nialla’s habits. Please help!!

  • Judy Hall
    Posted at 19:10h, 27 July Reply

    My dog is doing well at not running out the door but I cannot let her off leash because she will run. the other day we were at neighbors and neighbor forgot to close gate and I almost lost my dog. I found her out on the street and luckily she jumped in my car when she saw me. She will not come even in the house when I call her. I guess she doesn’t feel the need to come. what do I do?

  • Diane
    Posted at 19:28h, 06 October Reply

    Can you do this with an 8 year old dog?

  • Fran
    Posted at 14:47h, 27 February Reply

    Brandon , l really enjoy the Lucky Dog show and your training methods. I have a active 2 y/o Boxer/Lab mix and your show has been very helpful. I am looking forward to your dog training book. I know it must be in the works. When and where can we get it?
    Fran / NJ

  • Pingback:how to keep a dog from running out the door | Free Online Dog Training Games
    Posted at 01:00h, 04 September Reply

    […] How To Prevent Your Dog From Running Out The Front Door… […]

  • Angelica
    Posted at 23:26h, 05 May Reply

    My problem is that my dog only tries to run out when no one is looking. She will never run out when someone is standing at the door. She will wait for the okay, she’ll sit at the door looking up at me. The moment I leave the door open by accident and leave the room, she bolts out the door and takes off for hours. Naturally we try to make sure the door is always closed and locked behind us but there is once in a while that I get distracted. How do we train her in this situation if I can’t get her to try and run out so I can correct her? Thank you kindly for your advice.

  • tracy schmitz
    Posted at 23:54h, 12 March Reply

    my 10 year old male (neutered) brittany spaniel in 10 years 4 times has run out the front door when people aren’t paying attention and leave it open, the last time it took me 4 1/2 hours to find him thankfully unharmed.. anyway, i used to run with him around the block a few times a week but i haven’t since the last time he got out 2 years ago next month.. i’m afraid that he’ll remember the last time he was free to run in the neighborhood and it will ignite the memory for him to want to take off again the next time the front door stays open for too long or not closed all the way.. Am I being paranoid? do dogs remember like this? should i go back to taking him for walks and runs around the block or should i not reignite the memory and give him incentive? i’m scared to death on what to do with him. please help!

  • Marjorie Baltierra
    Posted at 17:32h, 31 January Reply

    Brandon. Good morning. I’ve watched you shows for years and admire the work you do for rescues. We rescued a 1 1/2 yr old Fixed female ItalianGreyhuahua , Chloe, in July after our dog passed. She was our first rescue and I researched rescue needs and behaviors as we had always raised our pass dogs from puppies. So this was a new adventure for my husband and myself. She has been the sweetest thing in the world. We just love her. We decided to get a rescue companion for her since my husband job has switched hours and didn’t want her to be alone. We adopted a 3 yr old neutered male Min Pin named Cooper. We have had him about 3 weeks now. They get along great have had no problems with them at all. They are inside/outside dogs, outside meaning they use a doggy door to go outside and do their business. Yesterday Cooper “Door Dashed” UGH! what a nightmare. We had to chase him all around the neighbor hood, Husband on foot and myself in the car with treats to lure him. This took forever as he was darting in & out of the street. He finally somewhat slowed down enough coming across another dog in their front yard. Then in the evening same day we opened our front door to a delivery service and he bolted again! Off we went. Same story. This was so stressful and I want to make this work and am determined to do so. I really need your help to fix this. I don’t want him to get injured and we have coyotes in the neighborhood! Help!

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