Teaching your dog to wait at doorways can be an essential part of their training. It can help keep them safe and prevent them from rushing out of doors, especially during the holiday season when guests may be coming in and out of your home more frequently. Here are some steps to help you teach your dog to wait at doorways.
Start by selecting a closed door inside your home and position yourself so the door will swing inward toward you. You can ask your dog to sit or lie down or simply wait for them to be calm, then slowly open the door a crack. As soon as your dog approaches the door, shut it again. This process will help teach your dog that approaching the door will result in the door closing, so they will learn to stay back.
Continue this process until your dog either stays in position or backs away from the doorway. Now you can begin to open the door a bit wider. Again, if your dog approaches, close the door. Be sure to praise and reward your dog when they stay in position or back away from the doorway.
As your dog catches on, you will be able to open the door more and more until finally, you can move through and leave your dog on the other side. You can either return to your dog and give them praise and a treat or give them their release word and let them join you on the other side of the doorway. Try alternating returning and releasing as your dog won’t always get to follow you through the door in daily life. Add the words “Wait” or “Hold On” once your dog understands the rules.
It’s also important to teach your dog to wait at doorways in the car, especially if you are traveling during the holidays. Your dog should remain in the vehicle until they are released, which gives you the ability to pack the vehicle and get the kids in or out of the vehicle with the dog remaining still. This can help keep everyone safe and ensure that your dog is not running loose in an unfamiliar area.
Teaching your dog to wait at doorways may take some time and patience, but it is well worth the effort. With practice, your dog will learn to stay put when they approach doorways, keeping them and others safe during the holiday season and beyond.