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Training Your Dog or Puppy Not to Bolt Out of Doors or Gates


A common problem for many dog or puppy owners is training pets not to run out when doors or gates are opened. Particularly in households with children (who often go in and out of the house or yard) or lots of visitors, dogs or puppies who bolt out and run off can be in serious danger.

Of course, it’s important to teach family members to be careful when opening the door so your dog or puppy doesn’t get out. It can also be helpful to put a sign on your yard gate that says “This door must be kept closed,” to help guests remember to shut it when they’re visiting. Installing springs on gates to make them shut automatically is also an inexpensive and effective safety measure.

However, while those reminders can be helpful, the fact is that it’s much easier to train one dog or puppy than an entire neighbourhood of kids!

Begin by working with your dog or puppy on some basic obedience training commands such as “heel,” “sit,” “down,” “stay,” and “come.” This will help build your dog’s attention span and self-control, and will teach him to respect you more.

Next, with your dog or puppy on a leash and collar, stay just inside the house and hold your door open wide, while saying “stay in.” If your dog tries to step across the threshold, correct “no,” and reinforce “stay in.” Be sure to praise your dog or puppy lavishly when he displays self-control.

As your dog progresses, you can prop your door or gate open and practice with you standing  outside of the doorway. Gradually increase the distance between you and the door or gate and add distractions little by little.

Another helpful exercise is to work with your dog or puppy on a 20’ long lead outside in the front of your home. Practice the “come” command, and staying within the boundaries of your property. This way, if your dog or puppy does get out, he’ll be more accustomed to staying on your property and coming when called.

Last but not least, be sure to let your dog or puppy spend plenty of time out front with you. If it’s not such a novelty to him, he won’t be as determined to get out there.

With some supervision, obedience practice, and all around responsibility, your pet can be safe and sound… even when doorways are active!