Better control when I am going out the door? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Better control when I am going out the door?

Tried searching but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for on this--

I would like to teach my dog not to bolt for the door when I need to go out without her.

Background: she's 5 years old spayed female, who was previously owned by a breeder/trainer and rehomed to me about 2 months ago after being retired from breeding. She's a good dog, with RN and CGC earned with the previous owner (who was also going to title her in Schutzhund and started her, but then did not proceed with that after she decided to retire this dog from breeding.) She's a WL import.

Lena (my dog) follows her obedience commands for me (sit, down, stay, come, heel, etc) generally very well. I plan to become better with my handling/training skills as I would like to start doing rally and/or obedience with her myself. Lena is not my first dog but is my first GSD and it has been a few years since we've had a dog, so I am learning.

Like any dog, though, she will take advantage of my lack of knowledge in how to guide her, so she tends to crowd the door and make sure she gets out whenever I am going somewhere (I work from home full-time and she is my shadow in the house, likes to be with me wherever I am.) She frequently does get to go with me on walks or car rides and gets her hopes up whenever I'm at the door!

I'm sure the problem here is that I am not showing her what I expect effectively. How do I teach her to wait at the door? Obviously she cannot go with me everywhere I go. My first thought was down or sit-stay, but, if I am telling her to stay, doesn't that mean until I release her from the stay? (which would not make sense if I am leaving the house.) I guess this is my rambling way of asking if there is a better command to use for this and how to teach it. Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 10:53 PM
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What I do is similar to what your already doing. When I go to the door I makenmy pup sit before I even open the door. I will open the door walk out and if she can come I will release her if not I will close the door and she has realized she must go lay back down and go about her business. I never tell her to stay but only sit. I hope this helps and good luck.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 10:55 PM
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Continually work with her on a sit/stay in various places and work on creating a boundary zone around the door that she CAN NOT cross until you release her. Dont even go anywhere. Just practice sit stay at the door, with her on a leash of course, and practice rule enforcement. If she moves when you reach for the door to open it, withdraw your hand and walk away. She'll soon figure out that if she moves before you release her to go from her sit/stay, she gets nowhere outside.

Also, practice loose leash exits and entrances. If she pulls even a little bit towards the door, change direction and wait until the leash is loose again. Repeat as needed. Don't let ANYTHING slide.

Hope that makes sense.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 11:07 PM
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I taught my dogs they are not allowed to go through the door until I say "okay."

What I do is this. When I go to the door and begin to open it, as soon as the dog starts to try to go through, I close it in his face (being careful not to open it of course.) I leave the door closed until he backs up from it again. Then I open it. Of course he tries to dash through immediately, and I close it again. We repeat this until he will sit while I open the door. Then I'll open it and when he is waiting quietly, I say "Okay!" and let him through. This is done over the course of several training sessions and several days. I make sure to reinforce it often.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 10:30 AM
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With my dogs, I have a "stay" command that is only verbal, sometimes I'll use a "stop" hand signal at the same time.

But there is also just a way of moving your body where the dog is not going to walk towards or past you. When you get a hang of using that method, and use it regularly at the door, a boundary will be created there "magically" and the dog will not run across that boundary willy nilly. You will not have to tell the dog to "stay" each time you open the door, because they have been trained that they need to check with you before going into that area. That is why I prefer that method to training "stay" at the door.

Since you say your dog follows you around, it would be good for you to practice using your body to keep her in one place. Like if she's laying down in a room with you, you get up to leave the room, if she starts to get up, turn around and move towards her in a blocking way so that she understands she needs to stay there. You may want to use the "stay" command if she does not get the idea right away, but that can be phased out as she responds to your body movements, or better yet, checks with you before moving anywhere, whether she has been told to "stay" or not.

Here is a video about claiming space; it's close to what I'm talking about. But I have seen Cesar do it specifically about crowding/rushing the door, which is exactly what I'm talking about. Can't seem to find a good example of that on Youtube.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 11:43 AM
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 04:41 PM
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We have taught our dogs a the "wait" command, which is useful at the door(s), whether you're coming or going. Essentially, when I say "wait", it means "stop where you are and don't move until I tell you to (release you)". I guess it's similar to a sit/stay, but I don't necessarily care what position the dog is in, I just need them to stop. I also use this command on (off leash) walks when I need the dog to stop, usually so I can catch up!! Or, if they're about to go around a corner where I can't see them and I want to know what's ahead before they do.

We start training to this command on (leashed) walks - I will stop and say "wait" when the dog stops moving or gets to the end of the leash. Eventually, I can say "wait" and the dog won't have to wait to get to the end of the leash - he'll know to stop in motion. Once that's mastered, I move it into the house (still leashed when training on this command (and go through the same process as I approach a door/threshold, etc. Eventaully, you can take the leash off and be in motion as you tell the dog to "wait" while you continue to the door.

We've also trained our dogs to "back up", so if they get too close to ______, we can direct them to step back to give us room to do what ever (this works for me when I'm going into the pantry for a treat and Beau wants to "help"). Basically, once the dog is in a "wait" mode, I will turn my body to face the dog and start walking twd them, saying "back up" while I'm doing it. The dog will naturally start to move backwards a few steps - as they do, you praise their movement.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 09:24 AM
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Just like Emoore said

Open the door a little and when the dog tries to go out shut it in their face. Once you can open it without them trying to go through, you walk out. If they try to follow, shut it behind you. Open it, and repeat. Eventually the dog will realize that them going through the door uninvited is counterproductive to getting out.

Once you can open the door from the other side and the dog doesn't automatically come though, invite your dog to come through the door.

Rinse and repeat when you go through doors until he/she gets it.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 10:32 AM
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i don't use stay or wait, because i won't be there to release them, and that gives them the idea (IMO) that they can wait/stay as long as they want at other times also.

I tell them "back". use the same claiming my space as the video above.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by guatemama07 View Post
I'm sure the problem here is that I am not showing her what I expect effectively. How do I teach her to wait at the door?
I found this one very easy to train. The most important part is setting clear criteria, and enforcing consequences for bad choices from your dog. In my opinion, there is absolutely no need for a command at the door. It should be a well known fact for your dog that when your hand touches the doorknob- that is a cue for sit. No verbals needed... Definitely don't start training this behavior at the door; there is too much reinforcement there for your dog to be successful. You need to work on impulse control in an environment where you can basically ensure success. Take a look at crate games:

It takes only a little bit of work at the crate before you can start applying the control skill at the back/front door. When you touch that doorknob, expect the dog's butt to hit the ground. If it doesn't, go back to crate games...

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