Does your dog dash out the door every time you open it? Does your dog pull you out the door when you want to take her for a walk? Then the Door Dash Game is just what you need!
Teaching your dog to respect doorways is not only good manners, but also will keep your dog safe! Every day dogs are hurt, or worse, when they run out an open door and are hit by a car or get in an altercation with another dog. You also may get hurt if you are in the path of your dog dashing out the door.
So, how do we prevent this from happening and not only teach our dog good manners but keep them safe as well?
The Door Dash game is an easy way to build impulse control and teach your dog that just because the door is open, doesn't mean she can go through it.
A good impulse control game at the door is to teach your dog to remain calm and stay in a sit while you open the door. Make sure you have small, tasty treats/food to use to reward your dog. It's also a good idea to train this exercise when your dog is hungry.
Many dogs will work for the kibble so feel free to use what you would feed at meal time for this game.
Start with your dog in a sit near the door so you can still open the door without you or your dog having to move out of the way.
Make sure your dog is leashed so they can't get out the door unless you release them. Reach for the handle but don’t turn it - just touch it. If your dog stays in a sit, mark with a verbal marker word ("Yes!") and then reach for your food/treats and reward.
Do this multiple times to help desensitize your dog to you reaching for the door handle.
Remember to give your release cue to let your dog know she can get up from the sit.
Remember, in the past, you reaching for the handle has always meant that the door is about to open thus increasing excitement, stimulation and your dog being ready to dash out the door.
Then, move to turning the handle slightly so it makes a noise, but don’t open the door yet. Again, mark and reward your dog for sitting and being calm. Repeat this about 4-5 times.
At this point, I would stop. Work on this for about a day (every dog is different, so you may need a little more time). Even if your dog is doing well, you want to use repetition to build muscle memory so play this game 3-5 times a day about a minute each time.
Move to turning the handle and just barely opening the door – mark/reward calm behavior. Then open the door – again, mark/reward calm behavior.
This may need to be done over a couple of days - maybe 3 - depending on how much time you spend on it and how well your dog does.
As your dog is showing she can stay in a sit/stay as you continue to open the door a little more each day, you will get to the point where the door is all the way open.
Remember to mark and then reward the behavior you are looking for. Marking indicates she did it correctly, the reward comes afterwards.
Don't forget to always give your release cue to let your dog know it's okay to get up and move through the door with you.
Go slow and get success!
And of course, once you release your dog from each exercise, play with her to keep the fun in training!