Door passage is the most basic act of bringing your dog into the real world. It’s something we do every day, thousands of times a year. Plenty of training (or chaos) can happen at the door!
Wouldn’t it be a comfort to know that your dog will never dash out the door to chase a chipmunk or the neighbour’s cat?
One piece of the puzzle to creating a well-behaved dog is to recognize that each time you pass through a door, or narrow opening with your dog, is an opportunity to shape your dog’s behaviour.
The NEW HABIT
By playing the ‘fruit game’ each time you pass through a doorway, your dog will quickly learn to:
- Wait calmly at the door, before you open it,
- Sit, wait and watch while you open the door leading to exciting things beyond.
- Move through the doorway only when they hear their name.
- Stop and sit immediately on cue!
‘Training Aids’ to have ready before you start
- Leash – 6 foot long, attached to a properly fitted collar on your dog.
- Treats/food to reward for sitting on exit.
- Your calm state of mind and your favourite 3 fruits!
- First, teach them to wait before crossing through a narrow opening or doorway by saying “wait” and giving a ‘stop’ hand signal’. You might even want to practice this at different places around your house, so they don’t just learn that waiting means only when they’re going through doors! This will also help them learn how long they should be waiting before moving forward — 2 seconds is long enough at the beginning! But quickly move on to a longer duration by adding one second with each repetition, so that your dog doesn’t get bored.
- Next, teach them to move forward through the opening only when they hear their name. This is the fun part – begin by saying the name of 3 fruits, pause and then say “your dog’s name”. The reason for saying three fruits (or names that sound different from your dog’s name) is to teach them to FOCUS on you and really LISTEN for that sound that means good things (hearing their name should ALWAYS be associated with good things)
- Finally, be sure to have them “sit” as soon as they “come” to you, and just like that, you have a well-behaved dog at the door simply by being aware of and acting on the opportunity to give your dog a job and to create consistent, calm cooperation.
Reinforcing the Desired Habit
Once you and your dog have each of these three easy steps mastered, put them all together and repeat! Instead of just running through the doorway, teach your dog to sit before crossing the door threshold. Extend the amount of time that they must remain sitting by one second each time you pass through a door.
What If I Have More Than One Dog?
Whether you have one dog or several, the process is the same. Remain calm, be consistent and repeat the process each time you go in or out of a door, or through a gate. You are passing through these openings anyway … why not create a safe process for you and your well-behaved dog at the same time!
Most importantly have fun! If you aren’t having fun, neither is your dog!
Click Here to learn how to play the Fruit Game!
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