Running Out the Front Door

© 2012 Jerry D. Patillo, CPDT-KA

How many times have you opened the front door of your house and your dog ran out into the yard or into the street? Your guests probably didn’t appreciate having to help you chase after your dog. Teach your dog to Wait at the front door.

What’s the difference between Wait and Stay? With Stay, you want your dog to assume a specific body position for a specific amount of time. For example, Sit/Stay for five seconds, or Down/Stay for five minutes, and so on.

With Wait, you don’t really care what body position your dog is in. All you want is it to stop forward motion while or before you do something else. Wait while you open the front door. Wait while you close the car door. Wait while you set down the food bowl. It doesn’t matter if your dog sits, lies down, or just stands. You just want your dog to stop forward motion while you do something else.

To teach Wait at the door, put your dog on a 6’ or 4’ leash. Don’t use an extendible leash, as you won’t have any control over what you’re doing. Sometimes say “Wait” and then open the door; sometimes open the door first and then say “Wait.” Before your dog crosses the door’s threshold, gently pull back on its leash. Don’t let it cross the threshold even once. As soon as your dog stops forward motion, make the leash loose. This is very important because the loose leash simulates the dog being off leash. You want your dog thinking that it’s not to run out the front door even if it’s off leash.

Have your dog Wait for just two seconds at first. Then release your dog by saying “Free” or “Let’s go” to let your dog cross the threshold on leash. I don’t like to say “Okay” to release a dog because we say it all the time without thinking about it. Some trainers will tell you not to let your dog go out the door ahead of you. They fear you lose your leadership if you let the dog go out first. No, you lose you leadership when you let your dog go out whenever it decides. I let my dogs go out ahead of me all the time. However, they never go out until I release them with “Let’s go.” That’s where I maintain myself as the leader.

Once your dog can wait at the door for two seconds, then increase the time to three seconds, and then four seconds. Gradually build your dog up to a ten-second Wait. Every time, EVERY time you take your dog through the front door, have it Wait for five to ten seconds. With your consistency – THIS IS KEY – with your consistency, your dog will learn not to run out the front door on its own. Your INconsistency will teach your dog to run out the door whenever it wants to.

If you need any further assistance with running out the door or with any other undesirable behavior, give us a call today. We can help!


How many newsletters bombard
you daily with advertising hype?

How many times have you signed up for a newsletter, only to be bombarded daily with advertising hype and nothing of substance? Our newsletters come out only four to six times a year. Yes, to be honest, they too will contain advertising, but only a modest amount in order to promote our services. Mostly, our newsletters will contain real information on training and behavior you can actually use. Sign up today. It’s free!

For Email Marketing you can trus