Waiting at the Door

09/02/2022

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WAITING AT THE DOOR

For many dogs the anticipation for going out on a walk begins as soon as you put on your shoes and pick up the lead.

Whether your dog is overly excited, anxious or a combination of both, arousal inside the home can easily become over reactivity outside.

As you prepare for the walk, cue your dog to wait patiently while you get ready and put-on their equipment. Reinforce generously as they wait.

Your dog may prefer to sit or stand, either is fine as long as they remain stationary. Reward frequently while in place to build duration.

Next, practice taking small steps towards the door while your dog stays where they are. Return to them and reward each time they are successful.

Once your dog understands to stay as you move towards the door, you can add your hand touching the door handle before rewarding them for remaining where they are. If you are holding the lead, make sure it doesn’t become tight as you move as this could accidentally prompt your dog to move too.

Gradually add the remaining actions needed before you can leave the house, such as turning the handle or opening the door. At every stage, reward your dog for remaining stationary.

Before releasing your dog from their position to leave the house with you, you’ll want to make sure the coast is clear. Quickly scan the environment making sure there aren’t any nearby triggers that might cause your dog to over react. If it’s safe, call your dog to you and begin your walk.

Spending time working on foundation skills inside, and helping your dog relax before a walk will set you on the right path when you’re outside too.

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