Solving Behavior Problems
Reasons for door crashing:
For many dogs dashing through an open door is a wonderful game especially when the owner frantically runs after the dog. To the dog this is playing “chase”. Other dogs think it must be better out there because I never get to go there.
This is another instance of when the down and down-stay exercises will be most helpful.
· Remember, it is very important for you to teach your dog a solid down and down-stay. Your dog should down upon command every time you give the command and the dog should stay down until you come over to his right side and put him in a sit then give the release command.
· I recommend you use the door as one of the distractions to employ when you’re refining your down-stay.
· When you are going to open a door, put your dog in a down-stay at a place that is away from the door.
· Make sure you have someone helping you who holds the long line while you go to the door.
· If the dog does break his down, give the down command (or if he won’t down on command meet him). Do not punish him or say anything else to him.
· Then once you have the dog on your left side put him into a sit and heel him back to the designated place and put him in a down-stay again.
· It is alright for you to keep an eye on your dog and repeat the down command if it looks as if he is going to break while you go to the door.
· Gradually build up to the point of being able to at first go to, then open, then go through, and then close the door with the dog remaining down.
· With some dogs it may be beneficial to actually let the dog run for the door and find out that “If I run for the door for some reason I can get so far and then all of a sudden I feel this jerk on my neck and I can go no further.”. This is of course because you have someone holding firmly onto the other end of the long line. This technique should be done in combination with the down-stay. You want to teach the dog the correct behavior but you also want to let him see the consequences if he reverts to the undesired behavior.
· Another method that may be useful for some dogs is for you to reverse your direction whenever your dog moves in the undesired direction. This involves you keeping a very close eye on your dog as you move to the door.
· Pick the door that is his favorite to crash.
· Walk towards the door and if the dog begins to also move towards the door quickly back away from the door (at least 5 feet) and recall your dog praising him when he comes to you. You should be able to gradually work up to the point where you can actually make it all the way to the door without your dog. When your dog exhibits the proper behavior it is still important to praise him, but go to him at a place away from the door before praising.
· The next gradual step is to actually open the door. Again, if your dog makes a move towards the door, close the door, reverse your direction and recall the dog praising him when he comes to you. Again, when the dog exhibits proper behavior close the door, go to him and praise him.
· If you are able to open the door and have your dog stay away then build up to the point where you can go through the door and still have the dog stay away. If the dog exhibits improper behavior, reverse your direction, recall and praise. When the dog exhibits proper behavior close the door, go to him and praise him.
· Next you will gradually be able to not only go through the door but close it behind you and remain outside for gradually increasing periods of time (begin with about 30 seconds). When the dog exhibits proper behavior go to him and praise him.