I hope you are comfortable, listening carefully, because this might be something we could apply at home really quickly to make everyone’s lives easier – most of all, your pet dog. As you know I love my job working with dogs and owners with all sorts of problems, from chewing the carpet to biting the vicar (yes, it does happen). Sometimes I feel that we expect too much from our dogs. A few solid ground rules mean a much nicer life.
I am not preaching, as those of you who know me will attest. My dogs and family including myself are just as vulnerable to the massive mess-ups a lack of judgment can result in. Accidents can and do happen! Below we examine and re-teach a solid skill that will save your dog’s life, save your blushes, and keep your dog’s behaviour manageable (and ultimately, out of rescue).
Teach your dog – No door dashing
This is a safety priority skill. Nobody wants their dog to dash out into the road, out of the car, fly out of the front door… Never allow your dog to push past you, from room to room, in and out of the car, and start with no pushing out of their puppy crate. Teach your dog that a door or gate opening is not a signal for them to move. The only signal for them to move is you clearly saying it is time to move. What could be simpler?
Choose an indoor doorway. Hold some tasty food in one hand so your dog knows there are wages for this job. Teach your dog to sit away from the door (enough space that it will not knock into them when it opens). Reward and repeat, at least five times.
Repeat the above whilst reaching for the door to move it. Repeat your SIT command if you think your dog is going to move. Don’t wait until he has moved as this is too late. If this happens, start again!
Move the door gradually until you can swing it back and forth without your dog even flinching to move.
Repeat (goodness me, there is a lot of repetition isn’t there? Welcome to the world of dog training)… repeat until you can go through the door whilst your dog sits there. Pay him his food wages each time he is successful. If he fails, help him a little more at first. All teachers coach their students, they do not wait until the student fails first!
When your dog has relaxed and isn’t even trying to move when the door moves, walk through and clearly call him to you.
Now you have this skill in an ‘easy’ place, move to a new doorway. Back door, car door, front door, crate door? Any and every door needs you to repeat this training with your dog.
Finally, get started. Practice makes permanent.