Stop your dog from rushing through doors.
Do you have to guard the doorway or gate when you open it in case your dog suddenly come rushing through doors –darts out and runs off on you?
Or perhaps your dog is just SO excited to go for a walk that as soon as the gate is slightly open they rush through like a mad bull?
It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, teaching your dog to wait respectfully at doorways is an easy task that you can teach on the go.
It’s important to stop dogs from doing this for obvious reasons. For example:
- If your dog darts out of the door or gate at every opportunity they are also likely to take off and be difficult to call back. They also tend to run before they think which can risk their lives around traffic or get them into trouble with walkers and passers-by
- Your dog can hurt themselves on the door
- Your dog can damage your door, ripping it off it’s hinges
- Your dog is displaying that getting to the other side is more important than listening to you
None of these are good things. So here’s how to teach your dog to wait politely.
I always say that when you are trying to figure out how to stop a behaviour you don’t want in your dog, first think about WHY your dog is doing it – what are they getting out of it?
Dogs don’t do things just because. There is always a reason and a perceived benefit. If you can figure out what that benefit is and it’s something within your control, then you can change the behaviour.
So what does your dog want in the case of rushing through the door? Simply, to get to the other side!
Just like that famous chicken.
So we need to show the dog that when they try to rush through a doorway or gate, they actually miss out on getting to the other side. It just never works.
Put a leash on your dog when you’re practicing this. This is to prevent your dog accidentally getting through the door during training and undoing all your hard work.
Your dog doesn’t have to sit or anything but you may find that they will start to offer a sit later on to see if that works for them. Now go to the door and start to open it. The millisecond that your dog moves forward towards the door AT ALL, close it shut.
This is where your patience will come in and you need to be more patient than your dog!
Stick to this process every single time and it may feel at first like it will take ages but soon you’ll start seeing results and may even think, “hey she learned that quick!”
Praise your dog for waiting and then when they wait without trying to go through, say “let’s go” and walk them through calmly as a reward. Keep repeating to practice. If your dog races through when you say they can go, turn around, head back in and start again until they walk through calmly. When they get it right, they get to stay out there with you for longer. This is the reward.
If you want to, you can add in a treat when your dog stays put and doesn’t try to dash through. But it’s not really needed if you’re going to let them through at the end for their reward, because going through is what they really want!
You should stick to this new rule all the time going forward. It can even help your dog learn to stop pulling you through the door and down the street if you’re going on a walk too because starting a walk calmly with a loose lead sets a better tone for the walk then racing through the door.
Now go do some training!