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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Door Dashing

Koda keeps trying to follow me out the door when I leave the house, it's getting ridiculous. I've resorted to putting up a baby gate and separating him from myself and the door to the garage, which is the door I most often leave from. I left today for a bit and when I came back, my parents (Yep, I have a college degree and I'm living at home again, awesome) informed me that apparently he accidentally got out while I was gone and took off down the street. Now, I don't know what that was about, if he was in search of me (I'm the only one he religiously follows around the house) or what, but that's not cool!

I'm working on "stay" with him as a preventative method, so he won't do anymore door dashing, and he seems to be slowly getting the hang of it, but he's still so adamant about trying to get out the door with me when I leave. He seems to be too excited to apply the "stay" that I'm teaching him. Apparently he barely listened to my Mother when she called him to come back (Although he listens to me just fine), which says I need to work on "come" as well, that's next, I'd sooner like to prevent the situation of him getting out, than depend on the fact that I can trust my dog will return to me if he does get loose.

I'm going to continue to work on "stay", but can anyone make any other suggestions? Maybe on how to get his attention when he's the most excited, which is by the door, he just won't listen to me then and tries to push past me...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 02:34 AM
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I don't use "stay" at doorways because I want not rushing the door to be default behavior. Plus, if you tell him to stay and he does, and then you leave, someone else inside the house has to release him so he doesn't get in the habit of self-releasing from a stay.

It's probably best to start working on this with a door that does not open to the street, like a door to a fenced yard or from the house into the garage, or in a pinch you can use an interior door. I make my dogs sit before I open the door, and then I reach for the handle. If they get up, I pull my hand back and wait. I don't look at the dog, I don't say anything to the dog, I just wait. When they're sitting again (if you need to prompt this initially, that's fine, but don't do it any longer than absolutely necessary), I reach for the handle. We do this as many times as needed, until I can touch the knob with them remaining in a sit.

Next step is to turn the handle. When he'll remain in a sit while you do that, start to slowly open the door. If at any time he breaks his sit, slam the door shut, pull your hand back and wait for him to sit again. Work up to where you can open the door all the way without him breaking. Position him far enough back from the door that you can body block him to prevent him from going through until you release him. Once you can get the door open all the way with him still in a sit, ask for eye contact first, and then release him to go through the door.

Do this every time you take him outside and every time you let him back in. Once he understands that an open door does not mean he gets to go through it, and that if he rushes the door it will close in his face, you should be able to get out without fighting with him at the door all the time. When you go to practice at the front door, put him on leash so he can't run outside. I've also taught my dogs that we will not be going for a walk until they sit calmly for me to put the leash on, then we walk to the door and they have to stay in a sit until the door is open all the way, and then I release them to go through.

Now that my dogs have been doing this for a long time (Keefer is 4-1/2, Halo is 16 months old), I don't always do this every time I let them out for potties, but they know that if we walk up to the door and I stand there and do nothing, they're expected to go through the sit/wait/watch drill. This is one of those house manners things that I want them to do automatically, without me having to always remind them, so I don't ask for any of this, I simply wait for it. And when I do just let them out without making them sit first, I still open the door and use my release word to let them know that they can go through.

If you work on manners and self control in other areas (playtime, mealtime, before giving him attention) at the same time, it will reinforce that this is how he gets access to what he wants. My dogs will stand calmly 5 or 10 feet from the door when I leave in the morning, but we're still working on polite calm behavior when I come home, LOL!

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Cassidy - Thank you so much for the advice. I'm definitely going to start working on that today. I have Riley, my Sheltie mix, trained to the point where I can grab a treat, tell her to sit and stay, then walk across the room (a good 30-40 feet) and she won't budge until I release her. She doesn't do any door dashing when I tell her to stay. She doesn't jump up into the car when I tell her to stay, etc. Which is especially handy if we've been out when it's muddy and I'd like to put a towel down on the seat of the car. I also make her sit when I put the leash on her and before I open the door before a walk.

The difference with Koda is that he's so much bigger than she is, and he's harder to control. He likes to push right past you, I can't even get him to sit on the other side of me, not in between me and the door, you know? I guess what happened yesterday was that my parents had the garage open and when he got out the door, he was able to take off, because otherwise he would have just gone through the door to the garage and that was it. I'm going to work with him at the door to the garage, I think, because that's the one that gets him the most worked up, but make sure that the garage is closed so he can't go anywhere if he gets the opportunity to run out.

He understands the concept of sit before a walk, he always does that, but there's still the door dashing issue, I think he associates it with a car ride, which he seems to really enjoy. It also makes me wonder if the incident yesterday happened because he hasn't been exercised like I was exercising him before, which really isn't an option right now, because he tested positive for heartworm and it's not a good idea to run him around. He's only on Doxy right now as a pre-treatment for the Wolbachia, but in May he's getting the Immiticide shots for the adult worms, where it's imperative that his movement be restricted, I can only imagine the pent up energy that he's going to have then!

Anyway, thank you for the advice, I'm going to apply it.

Last edited by Melina; 03-12-2010 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Grammar Nazi
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, well, I just worked with him for an hour, if that, and I think the door dashing is solved! He no longer rushes the door. I now point to a spot about 4 feet back from the door and say sit, he goes over there and does that, and tell him stay and put my hand out with the stop signal and he doesn't budge, I'm able to get out the door no problem now! He's so smart, (What GSD isn't?) I'm so proud of him! I thought this would take a lot longer.

I did pretty much what you suggested, Cassidy, maybe a little variation. Initially, about an hour ago, I couldn't get near the door without him getting between it and me, so I turned him around and made him sit on the other side of me, so I was between him and the door, and I held him in place by his collar. I fed him a treat every few seconds and said 'stay', then gave him the stop sign signal with my hand, then gradually let go of his collar, and made sure he kept his sit. Every time he got up from the sit position, I started over. Then I started reaching for the handle, opening the door, and walking through it, all the while saying stay and giving him a treat so long as he held his sit and stay position. As soon as he got up and headed for the door, it got closed in his face and the process started over. I tried it at the end of the training session with absolutely no treats, just the 'stay' and my hand signal, and he didn't budge!

I'm so proud! Thank you again for the advice. Now I just have to teach my family members what to do, they're not home right now, but as soon as they're here, they need to learn this so we don't have another incident.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 01:33 PM
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I guess what happened yesterday was that my parents had the garage open and when he got out the door, he was able to take off, because otherwise he would have just gone through the door to the garage and that was it. I'm going to work with him at the door to the garage, I think, because that's the one that gets him the most worked up, but make sure that the garage is closed so he can't go anywhere if he gets the opportunity to run out.
We used to have that problem with Cassidy. She was totally used to being off leash at the park, she stayed close to us and came back if we called her, but if she managed to slip past us at the front door (this was before I figured out how to train dogs NOT to do that! ) she would take off down the street because it was a novelty for her to be off leash out there. And the same thing in the garage - the door from the house didn't latch if you don't pull it shut firmly, and several times my hubby would have the garage door open to load some tools into his truck, not realizing that the door from the house wasn't closed all the way, and she'd push it open and take off down the street.

For that circumstance we had plan B, to get her back when running around loose was way more interesting. I teach all my dogs that "find it" means there's food on the floor, and we always had a treat bucket on a cabinet in the garage, so if she started to run off I could call out "find it!", grab a handful of treats, and drop them in a trail back into the garage where I could corral her. She also LOVED to go for rides, so another way to get her back was to yell "Cassidy, go for a ride?" and she'd come running back to the car. She got wise though, and realized that if we didn't have car keys in hand she wasn't going to go for a ride, sneaky bugger, LOL! But as long as you opened the car door, let her jump in and sit there for a minute, that was good enough, and then we'd take her by the collar and walk her back inside.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 01:40 PM
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We make our boy sit and stay by the door and we go out first and then tell him "OK" and then he can come out. So now whenever the door opens he sits and stays and lets us go in and out and he doesn't move until we release him with "OK"

Lauren

Sinister ~ black male GSD 3.11.09
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 01:47 PM
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Okay, well, I just worked with him for an hour, if that, and I think the door dashing is solved! He no longer rushes the door. I now point to a spot about 4 feet back from the door and say sit, he goes over there and does that, and tell him stay and put my hand out with the stop signal and he doesn't budge, I'm able to get out the door no problem now! He's so smart, (What GSD isn't?) I'm so proud of him! I thought this would take a lot longer.
Awesome! I would try to gradually fade out the the sit and stay cues so that it becomes implicit that he is to stay back from the door and sit without having to be told. If I don't give my dogs a command, I don't need to worry about them breaking the sit or stay because I never actually told them to do it in the first place. If I do tell them to sit I expect them to stay sitting until I release them or give them an alternate command, and the same with the stay. If I'm leaving I need them to stay back while I exit, but after that they're free to do whatever they want once I'm gone.

Holding his collar or putting him on leash is fine while you work on this, it's important that he's not able to get out the door unless you tell him he can. I know what you mean about him getting between you and the door, mine will sometimes do that too, but I just keep backing them up by walking into them and pointing in the direction I want them to go. If they're on leash and we're going for a walk and do sit but are too close to the door for me to open it without them HAVING to get up to get out of the way, I turn around and walk away from the door with the dog at my side, then turn around and we approach the door again.

Definitely show your family members what you're doing with him and have them practice so everyone is on the same page. Consistency is really important in order for him to learn what the new rules are and how things are going to work from now on.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, he seems to be getting it consistently now, I've been practicing this new technique at random intervals throughout the day (I don't want to overwhelm him) and not once has he tried to push past me, I'm able to get out the door without him trying to rush it.

Initially, before I tried this whole thing, I would do the whole 'walk into him to back him up from the door' thing, but he would just walk around me and sit in front of the door. So then I would walk away from the door entirely and call him to me to then try approaching the door again, but he would start to come to me and realize I was just going to approach the door again, and sit in front of the door once again, he was too smart, haha.

As I said, I think this is working, but I do want to get to the point where I don't have to make him sit and say stay every time I need to leave, where he just knows to stay back. Though it does seem as though he's not as excited when I'm walking out the door. Before, it was like, "Oh man, my mom's leaving, where's she going? I need to go too! Wait for me! I need to go first, don't leave without me! HOLD ON! I'M COMING! Please don't leave without me! AHHH!!!". Haha, I could just see that going through his brain, now I don't see that so much.

Last edited by Melina; 03-12-2010 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 03:25 PM
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I need to go too! Wait for me! I need to go first, don't leave without me! HOLD ON! I'M COMING! Please don't leave without me! AHHH!!!". Haha, I could just see that going through his brain, now I don't see that so much.

Awww, he his mama!

We have a fairly narrow entryway, so it's not too hard for me to body block and back my dogs up, it would be much more difficult if it was a wide open space. This is my front door:



That doesn't leave them a whole lot of space to zip around me, which is good because they are much faster and more agile than I am!

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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You lucky San Fran area dweller! I love it up there. It's much more difficult to back Koda up by the door to the garage, it's way more open than that, not a hallway.

Koda seems to be getting the concept of not dashing through the door most of the time now, but he tried to run past me one more time this afternoon, he broke his stay and I had to grab him by the collar and wrestle him back inside. It's day one, though, he's doing darn well in that amount of time. Compared to how hyper he would get when I would approach the door and how much of a struggle it was to leave the house, I'd say this is definitely an improvement.

It's nice to know that my dog loves me and wants to be with me, but he needs to un-velcro himself just a little
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