Pretty often I am asked to train a dog specifically to come when called. Once I dig into this with the owner, more often than not, this request came about because their dog ran out the front door and wouldn’t come back when called. Yes, having good recall can save your dog’s life in many situations, but let’s look at the root cause of this particular situation.
Q. Why did the dog get outside without a leash to begin with?
A. Because I had the door open and he ran out.
Q. Why did he run out the open door?
A. Because he doesn’t know not to.
There IS something you can do about it! Teach your dog to respect thresholds (i.e. doorways). This one is so important! It can set the tone for leadership inside the house and out. Begin with the threshold exercise.
Step 1: Put a prong collar and leash on your dog (this is after introducing the prong collar, see “How to walk a dog on a prong collar“)
Step 2: Have the front door standing open
Step 3: With your dog in tow, approach the doorway at a normal pace, with some good slack in the leash
Step 4: As your dog rushes to go out the door, let him get out in front, and then using both hands on the leash, give an abrupt yank up and back on the leash. (Be aware that your dog may make an a yelp as he is surprised by this action)
Now, go back inside and repeat the exercise. The second time, your dog will be much less likely to rush out the door. If he gets ahead of you, give a little pop up with the leash. Then repeat the exercise again. The third time, he will get to the threshold and look up at you for permission!
Practice this exercise at every door and doorway in the house and soon you will have a dog that is respectful of thresholds. And a respectful dog is much less likely to run out the door!