Teaching a dog to wait before crossing through a door is of vital importance. Dogs often get over excited and will rush through open doors. This behavior can cause harm to the owner, the dog, and/or other animals. Some dogs will rush through open doors to chase a squirrel or cat across the street; the dog could possibly get hit by a car. If the owner is holding onto the dog’s leash and the dog just decides to rush through the door, the dog can cause injury to its owner.
Tips and tricks to teach your dog not to rush out the door.
Teach your dog a “place” command. The place command is basically an extended stay. We’ve touched on the place command to help teach a dog not to jump on you, but this command can also come in handy with dogs who tend to rush out the door! First you need a place board (raised coat, bed, or even a bath towel large enough for your dog to lay on). Place it near the door and lure your dog to the place using a treat. Once your dog has all four paws on the place, praise, and reward! Do this for a few days until your dog knows that the “place” is the jackpot spot and that’s where they’ll get their treats. You can then start to associate a verbal command with the behavior (I use “place,” but it can be whatever you like). After the dog learns to associate the verbal command with its “place” you can start to build duration. Instead of treating the dog immediately when it goes to place, have the dog hold this for a few seconds, then praise and treat. Keep working on duration until the dog can hold a place for the desired amount of time. When your dog knows place, instead of rushing out an open door, you can tell your dog to place, and release your dog from the position when necessary!
Keep your dog leashed and tethered to you. Being able to roam is a huge privilege, and if your dog decides to abuse this by running amok and causing reckless endangerment to other animals, humans, or himself, then boundaries must be set. Keep your dog leashed when he is loose in the house or yard. If he tries to rush out the door when it is opened, you can correct him using the leash and collar. You can also use a corrective collar if necessary (please consult a trainer if you are unsure!).
Close the door in the dog’s face. One way I taught my dog not to rush out of her crate or the front door was by closing the door in her face. For example, every time I opened the crate door she would try to rush out because she was excited to be let out. If she was overstimulated, I would simply close the door in her face. I would wait until she settled down by sitting or laying down, whatever she preferred, and gave me eye contact. I would then open the door. If she tried to rush out because she assumed an open door meant it was okay, I would slam the door again. We would repeat this process until she sat down, gave me eye contact, and I could open the door without rushing out. Then I would give her a verbal command to go and only then was she allowed to come out. This method can be applied to all and any doors. The dog ONLY gets what they want (to come out) when they are calm. Just because a door is open does NOT mean it is okay to rush out!
Remember, your dog is not a mind reader! Do not set expectations for your dog without giving him the proper tools to succeed! Behaviors like waiting for you to give the okay to go out the door isn’t something that a dog will just know--they need to be taught and shown what you want from them. Teaching them these behaviors not only keeps them safe, but can also save you a ton of heartache.