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Old 12-29-2008, 12:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Open a door with a lever handle?


Any idea on how to train a GSD to open a door with a lever handle?

On a general dog forum I would expect people to tell me I am asking too much, and y'll might too. But, he is a smart GSD so I think there is a chance.

Right now my parents have a back door where the latch has been removed. So when he wants to come back in, he just pushes his way through. To go outside he does the Lassie thing of leading someone to the door and looking at it.

I know he can open a exterior door with a lever handle because at my house we had him inside and Mom and I were talking in the garage. Between the house and the garage is an exterior-grade door which opens inward and a lever handle on it. He came bounding out to us. I accused mom of not shutting the door completely. So I put him inside and made sure the door was completely shut. I was two feet away from the door and he was bounding through again. So, I know he can, but I think because we were consternated to see him come through the door, he now thinks it is a bad thing to do.

I am dogsitting him at my house. My backdoor has a lever handle and is mostly glass with 4" of wood around the outside. The glass has blinds between the exterior and interior glasses so I can block his view of me, and let him see me. I tried kneeling and encouraging him to come to me while he was outside and I was inside. He seemed to think I was mean to tease him like that, so I gave up on that method.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

I need ideas to untrain my pup from opening a door with a lever handle lol. The problem is it's the front door with a highway one house down.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

One of my foster GSDs went to his new home and while there, I heard a door open. He had gone upstairs and opened the bedroom door (also lever handle) within the first 10 minutes.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

All my dogs learned how to do this simply by watching me do it. I think it's easier for them to do if the latch pushes up so they can push it up with the nose. Some of them never even needed to be taught, they just figured it out.

Have the dog sit quietly - don't try to teach him when he wants to go outside and chase a squirrel. Make your hand like a first and push the lever up with the top of your hand. If you're grasping it with your fingers, he might not get it or think he can't do it becuase he doesn't have fingers.

I had one dog who was trained to push the door bell when he wanted to come in. You need 2 people to train this - one to push the bell the other to open the door quick. Praise praise praise and he'll be doing it in no time. His nickname was Rex in or Out? and it made me a bit nuts so I never taught another dog to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: AxxelI need ideas to untrain my pup from opening a door with a lever handle lol.
swap the lever for a knob.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

Lol yeah I know, it's on the list....darn it, that lever knob is like 4 months old and was NOT cheap lol.
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

Vishnu and Joschy learned how to do it by watching. I actually had to take the lever handle off the door going to the garage because after I would close it and go out into the garage, they'd open it and come prancing out. So you might want to reconsider teaching this one. Oxana can do it as well. So if I have to put her in a room when I let one of the other dogs in the house, I have to lock the door on her
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

Yeah, I doubt you will find anyone on here who thinks its too much for a GSD to do. LOL.
Kaper also learned all by himself. He can get out of the van (can't lock the door b/c the lock opens anyway when you pull the lever). The lady who kennels the boys has had to change her locking system because Kaper figured out the slide lock and let himself out. Our door to the porch has teeth marks in it b/c he knows how the door knob turns but can't get his body to execute the proper movement.
We also just fenced in the backyard. I had some family over for a bbq in the summer. I was in the kitchen with DH and went to walk out to the deck, there were they boys wagging their tails at me, happy to be part of the party. No one would have let them out b/c Kape would have barked at anyone except DH or I (most are afraid of him anyway). It was a simple lift latch, all he had to do was lift it with his nose.
We have old doors in our house that sometimes don't latch without being slammed but appear to be closed. I have watched Kape turn his paw and pull the door from the bottom open so he can get out.
Chatham, our lab, can't open a door if its almost wide enough for him to get through and just needs a push. LOL.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

It never occurred to me to me that he was pushed up on the handle. I had assumed rearing up on the back legs and using the front to pull down. I think we are safe to teach this. Right now the bedroom doors have levers and the rest have knobs at my parent's house. They are willing to replace the knob on the back door. Dad had this silly idea of bolting one of his ropes to the door at mouth-height. He just sort of looks at you when you use it and you know his mind of full thinking of the squirrel which is probably in the yard.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

We had to change door handles also. Our female GSD Abby, who has since gone to the bridge from cancer, was able to open just about any door there was.
She even opened the door while my kids were playing in our fenced-front yard and I had run in to use the restroom. It just so happened in the really short time I was inside, the water meter reader came to read the meter. He came in our yard to read it while the boys were playing and my GSD didn't care for that.
She opened the door, chased him from the yard and bit his leg as he ran and flew over the fence (he didn't bother with the gate).
Of course, with all the barking, noise, etc., I was out there in a heartbeat, but one step behind the action. He was VERY cool about it - said he saw the dog watching through the storm door, saw my signs on the fence, saw the boys, but chose to come in the yard anyway. After all was said and done, while he was packing snow on his leg, even though I offered everything under the sun for it, he asked, "Did your dog open the door?"
I did send him a small Harry and David gift fruit basket though, simply because he was such a good sport about the whole thing. The card read, "Sorry my dog took a bite out of your leg, here, take a bite out of this."
You might want to reevaluate teaching your dog to open the door. A bell hanging on a string works well.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Open a door with a lever handle?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Angela_WVishnu and Joschy learned how to do it by watching. I actually had to take the lever handle off the door going to the garage because after I would close it and go out into the garage, they'd open it and come prancing out. So you might want to reconsider teaching this one. Oxana can do it as well. So if I have to put her in a room when I let one of the other dogs in the house, I have to lock the door on her
I completely agree with Angela..LOL Lady is always watching and then has to try stuff out for herself. Getting ice from the Icemaker, flushing the toilet, opening gates, opening the well's water shutoff valve box, etc.. I have to actually use a deadbolt lock to make sure she doesn't get out. Our entrance gate to the property now has a great big ole chain and padlock that we keep shut and locked except when we expect company thanks to that GSD curiosity and cleverness with their paws and snouts! I shudder to think what would happen if she had a thumbs instead of a dew claws!
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