© 2014 Jerry D. Patillo, CPDT-KA, Phoenix Behavior Consulting
If your dog is a door dasher, a dog that runs out the front door, side gate, or garage door, then teach your dog to “Wait” at the door, gate, etc.
Whenever you want to address an undesirable behavior, there are ALWAYS two steps:
- Remove the reward of the behavior you don’t like.
- Teach your dog the behavior you want it TO DO instead.
What’s a reward for a dog? Anything your dog likes, needs, or wants is a reward for the behavior that preceded it. What’s the reward for running out the front door? The following are only a start:
- Freedom, the release from boredom
- The rest of the world
- Chasing the bicyclist or skateboarder
- Reading the latest pee-mail or poo-mail
- Saying hi to Fifi, that hot new French Poodle that just moved in
- Telling Brutus to stay on his side of the street
- Inviting a squirrel over for dinner (your dog’s dinner, that is!)
- Who knows what else?
Step #1 is, Remove the reward of the behavior you don’t like. How?
- Remove the reward from your dog, or
- Remove your dog from the reward
You could try to remove the rewards listed above, but good luck with that. The easier solution in this case would be to remove your dog from the rewards. Do everything you can to prevent your dog from being successful even one more time. Every time your dog is successful at the running out the door or gate, that success rewards the behavior and will encourage your dog to attempt the wrong behavior again, again, and again.
Here’s a possible solution (one of many): Install an extra gate at your dog’s exit point. This is exactly the same strategy that zoos and petting zoos implement at their facilities. Install two entrances instead of just one, in order to minimize their creatures’ escaping.
Install a doggy playpen and gate inside or outside your front door or side gate etc. to decrease the likelihood of your dog escaping. Please see the accompanying photos.
Step #2 is, Teach your dog the behavior you want it TO DO instead of the behavior you don’t like. How about “Wait” at the front door? Every time, every time, every time — any questions? – every time you take your dog out the front door or side gate, have your dog wait first for 5 to 10 seconds before exiting.
What becomes routine for you will become routine for your dog. What becomes habit for you will become habit for your dog. Guess what? If you, dear human, don’t have a routine, your dog won’t have a routine either.
“Wait” doesn’t mean “Stay.” “Stay” means “I want you to assume a specific body position for a specific amount of time.” “Wait” means stop forward motion momentarily until I release you with a release cue, e.g., “Let’s go” or “Free!”.
If you need help with your dog running out the front door or side gate, call us TODAY! We can help!
Examples of outdoor safety gates.