How to Stop Your Dog From Bolting Out the Door…
It’s frightening, it’s frustrating, it’s definitely not funny! In fact, it feels like a battle to keep your dog from bolting out the door everytime it gets opened.
It’s frightening because your dog
- could get lost
- could get hit by a car
- could get into a fight with another dog
- could frighten children
- could tear through your neighbor’s yard and become a nuisance
It’s frustrating because
- it’s such a hassle when you have guests come to visit
- you can’t open the door without Fido making a break for it
- when people, other than family, are in the house and don’t know that opening the door facilitates the “great escape”
- your life is often taken over by running after the dog
Reasons your dog may bolt…
It helps if you can understand what is motivating your dog to do the “doggie dash”, it might give you a clue on how to begin managing this unwanted behavior.
- He/she may not be getting enough exercise, the solution to this problem is obvious…dogs need to move, they get pent up energy they must get rid of, they need fresh air, mental and physical stimulation, even just the simple pleasure of rolling in the grass. Your dog needs to get out more!
- Along with needing more exercise, your dog just might be bored…if you’re gone a lot, but Fido isn’t, extra attention and exercise could be the key.
- Maybe you’ve moved recently and your pup is simply looking for home. This problem may take some time while she is getting used to her new surroundings. One of the best things you can do is make sure there are familiar things around that smell and feel like home.
- If your male dog isn’t neutered, he may be off in search of a female to mate with. The best solution to this is simply have your dog neutered, unless that’s not an option, if that’s the case you will need to follow some of my training tips below.
- And finally, maybe she just wants to. Some dogs are very excitable, adventuresome and act on a whim. And if her bolting has gone on for a while, it’s now part of the routine. But it’s a routine that should, and can be changed.
Every time your dog escapes successfully, it becomes more likely that he will try to do so again in the future.” – Casey Lomonaco
Try some of the training techniques below:
This isn’t necessarily a quick fix, it may take several days to get to success, and then possible intermittent reinforcement after that.
- It all begins with “sit”
- Have a good supply of your dog’s favorite treats with you at all times, and then whenever she sits on command or on her own, she receives a treat. Sitting becomes magic, as those treats appear.
- At the same time, begin randomly and nicely saying her name, followed by a treat. Soon she will also start to associate her name with yummy treats also, and hearing her name called will get her attention.
- Now you can move to the door. This part of the training should be done in baby steps, and should also be done both while you open the door from the inside and later while someone else opens the door on the outside. This should be done in baby steps. A word to the wise: Your dog isn’t going to be perfect right away, be sure to use a leash, preferably a long line to prevent her from bolting.
- Have your dog sit within eyesight of the door. Make sure there is a clear line that she must be behind so she knows her limits – this could be a rug or a step. As she sits, she is rewarded with a treat. You can then start making your way toward the door, walking backwards. If your dog begins to get up and follow you, tell her “stop” while putting your hand up. Repeat this process until your dog remains seated while you go to open the door. Once she remains seated throughout this step, be sure to reward her with her treat and some affection from you.
- Now comes some of the baby steps…touch the door, if your dog stays in her place, she gets a treat, then wiggle the doorknob, again, if she stays in her place, she gets another treat. Then you crack the door open a bit, and if she stays in her place – you guessed it, she gets another treat. The point is that you are building up to opening the door.
- Duplicate this procedure while you remain inside and have someone enter the house from the outside. This will help your dog learn to stay seated when you have guests coming and going from your home.
Patience is the key to training your dog any type of behavior, realize that it takes time, and mistakes will be made. Practice these steps a couple of times a day for about 10-15 minutes. And remember, your dog not only loves her treats, but she really does want to please you.
Enrolling your dog in training classes is also another great way to help her develop desired behaviors…
My training techniques are based around one simple question:
What do you want and expect from your dog?
We believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.