With the hustle and bustle of Easter weekend right around the corner and our life in COVID slowly becoming a thing of the past, there's a lot of things that will be going on soon that may effect the mood and manners of your dog.
Put yourself in their paws (sorry couldn't resist...) they had a completely regular schedule over a year ago, you went to work, came home, they went to the dog park, adventured with you on the weekends, got to lick your face totally mask free. Cut to, their human home 24/7 but they don't know why. Not being able to go out as much, not being able to socialize as frequently. It was a huge change, and if you noticed your dog's behavior change frequently during COVID, I'm not surprised!
Coming out of that lifestyle and back into our "new normal", there's bound to be stressors that your pup will experience. Gatherings, like Easter, will get larger and larger, and your pup is going to adjust in their own unique way. They may become super clingy, anti-social, overly excited, lash out in public, have a difficult time listening to you, etc.
So rather than find all of this out through experiencing it first hand, we thought we would focus this blog post on one training tip that will help you and your pup moving forward. And that is... how to establish door boundaries!
Our Pack Leader Hayley has put together a few training tips to help you establish proper door boundaries throughout the house. These tips work not just at your front door but any door in and outside of your home, including getting in and out of the car! We hope this will spark a passion for connecting with your dog through training as well as help ease into the adjustment period of more holidays and less COVID a bit easier. So read on for more...
If you prefer to watch corresponding videos, check out our Instagram, under our "Training Tips" highlights for videos of Hayley in action!
FRONT DOOR BOUNDARY TIPS
- Put yourself in a position of power by using your body to create space between the door and your dog.
- Position yourself in a way that shows them that you have the right to access the door first.
- Widen your stance and shift your body side to side to create room, causing them to naturally move out of the way or back up.
- If they try to approach, shut the door and start again. Yes, this will require a lot of patience for human and dog!
- Request a SIT as well as EYE CONTACT while opening the door and before releasing your dog to go through the door.
- Go nice and slow. Remember, dogs feed off of energy, so going nice and slow will allow them to be in a training state of mind and to associate a feeling of calmness with the door being opened.
- Have a command you use every time you want to release them from a sit... "Okay, let's go!"
Final Result: As you progress in this practice, you will want to eventually be able to open the door, with your pup sitting, making eye contact with you, no one leaving or bolting out of the door and waiting for your command to continue through.
OUTSIDE DOOR BOUNDARY TIPS
- Practice the same method for any outside gates, leading from your front yard into the street, anywhere in your backyard, etc.
- It's super important to practice this outside, as this is where there are a lot of safety factors that you don't have control over. Your dog bolting out of any door outside could be very unsafe, so practicing these boundaries will help them have safe manners in public.
- Use your body positioning to your advantage. Step in front, take a pause and wait a bit for them to be calm to ensure they are making eye contact or sitting - just anything that shows they understand that you are the authority in releasing them to proceed.
- Use the same command you did before, "Okay, let's go!" to release them to proceed.
Pro Tip: Don't forget to utilize treats when in training mode and practicing. Using special treats may also condition your dog to know they are in training mode. Having access to special or training treats during this time will get them excited to learn and work with you!
MULTIPLE DOGS AND DOOR BOUNDARY TIPS
- When practicing this technique with multiple dogs of leash, ensure that you are letting one dog access the door at a time. This promotes patience and manners and ensures that dogs don't get comfortable barging through crowded doors upon being released.
- This is really helpful for families that have small children and helps dogs to understand they must wait until they are instructed to proceed to enter and exit.
Pro Tip: Utilize a consistent command when letting your dog proceed. "Okay (dog's name)" or any command that calls their name is perfect. Just keep it consistent.
CAR DOOR BOUNDARY TIPS
- Open the car door, wait for eye contact and have a phrase that you use "jump up" or "up" to let them know they may now enter. Reward with treats while training and substitute with verbal praise once they master this skill.
- Car door boundaries are probably some of the most important skills to learn for their safety - it's never a good feeling to have your dog jump out of your car unexpectedly in a parking lot or on the side of a road around traffic.
- When unloading your dog from your car, use the door to help them with spacial awareness. If they try and push the door open, gently close it and try to open it again until they are calm. Request a sit, stay and eye contact before "okaying" them to come out.
- You can practice loading and unloading back and forth to help associate this loading in and out exercise with what they are expected to do when you are at your car.
We hope this helps you in your day to day life and during the transition process back into "regular" life of being outside, going on adventures and having some fun in and out of the house. Don't forget to check out corresponding videos to this blog on our Instagram (@ocpupscouts) located in our "Training Tips" highlights. Till next time... HAPPY TRAINING!
AUTHOR'S NOTES & DISCLOSURE: The opinions of this blog post are based on personal experiences and professional training methods. While we realize that there are many ways to train dogs, please understand that the information presented is based from our team's opinion and experiences. All recommendations are suggested based learned and practiced professional training methods. OC Pup Scouts is not to be held liable should you have a negative personal experience with any of these methods and should they not prove to work, we suggest reaching out to us to seek professional training for your dog.