Stop Your Door-Dashing Dog
What is Door Dashing?
Door dashing is about excitement on the other side. Dogs can’t wait to see what’s happening. Have you seen children piling out a doorway, trying to get into Chuck E. Cheese or Disneyland? That’s door-dashing at its finest. 🙂
Door dashing has nothing to do with aggression, mate seeking or dominance. This is totally unproven. If your dog barks and lunges at guests coming through the door, this is totally different than door dashing. This sounds like defensive aggression, meaning he is afraid of what’s coming through the door.
RELATED: Dog Aggression
Teaching Polite Door Manners
It’s all about consequences. If you push or rush toward the door, it closes. If you move away from the door, it opens — voila! Dogs pick up on this quickly too. Even the best door dashers can learn polite manners within minutes.
Opening and Closing the Door
Before we start, let’s chat about opening and closing the door. Never close your dog’s nose in the door. This will teach him to be afraid of the doorway. By slowly closing it, you’re keeping the door from opening further. Close the door as your dog moves his nose from the open crack. If your dog’s nose remains in the crack of the door, hold the knob to prevent the door from opening further. After a few seconds of sniffing or patiently waiting for you to open the door further, your dog will walk away. He knows it’s not working. This is a good thing since your dog is learning that door rushing is not working.
Most dogs love playing in the yard, going for walks or having guests visit so they get super excited about going through a door. Use this excitement as a reward! If you want, you can toss a treat just outside the open door for a super nice reward.
Front Door Precautions
Living in an urban area, about 40% of my clients don’t have backyards so they reward with walks. Plus, door dashing happens when guests come over when dogs wait for the moment to dash through the door and romp the neighborhood. Yikes! When practicing polite greeting manners using the front door, make sure your dog is leashed.
Adding a Cue
When teaching polite door manners, you can use a verbal cue, such as “wait” at the door. Think of a “wait” cue as a pause button when your dog remains with you until released. Personally, my cue for “wait” at the door is my hand touching the doorknob. Then, I say “yes” or “OK” to release them. Now, you can say “wait” if you like. It’s up to you.
How to Stop Your Dog From Door Dashing
Practice each step until your dog will wait patiently for the door to open all the way.
- Place your hand on the doorknob. If your dog rushes toward the door, remove your hand from the knob. Note, the door has not opened yet. Most dogs will launch toward the door when you touch the knob. 🙂
- Now, slowly open the door to leave a tiny crack. Keep practicing until your dog moves away from the cracked door. Once he ignores the opening door or moves away from the door as it opens, say “yes” or “OK” and open the door.
- Open the door further, working in small increments. When your dog waits, moves away from the door, sits, lays down or whatever, say “yes” or “OK” and let him out in the backyard.
Personally, I find teaching polite greeting manners a tad more difficult with smaller dogs. Small dogs can fit through small door cracks and between your feet so it’s probably best to leash them during the first steps.
Larger dogs are pretty easy to teach polite door manners. If you’re unsure, leash your dog during the first steps.
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