Teaching a Dog to Stay Behind an Invisible Line

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 17, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we trained 2 year-old Golden Retriever Louie to stay behind an invisible line while the grandkids eat a snack.

I waived the guardian off when he went to open the door when I arrived for the session. Louie was too excited. My entering would have rewarded and amplified this behavior. A great tip to help a dog learn to calm down for guests is to have the guest wait outside the door after knocking. Easier said than done in the winter in the midwest, lol.

As soon as Louie stopped backing and calmed down, I reached for the door knob. This caused Louie to start barking and spiked his excitement so I stopped reaching and dropped my hand. I did this several times, stopping the instant Louie got excited at the prospect of me entering.

If the guardians practice this technique enough, Louie will eventually see that staying calm causes the people to come in and getting excited causes them to stop. The timing of these are both important, especially stopping your entry process. I recommended the guardians have friends and neighbors over often in the next month or two to practice. This approach needs a lot of repetitions to work and the more often you practice, the faster the dog learns.

The guardians may want to start coming to the front door when they arrive home and repeating this process. Even if they park in the garage, they can still go to the front door, unlock it, pop the inside door open, then quickly close the outside door.

Now teaching Louie to stop being excited is an important step, but not the only one. The guardians will need to flip the leader follower dynamic by enforcing rules, build up the dog’s respect for them by adding structure to petting via petting with a purpose and rewarding desired behaviors through passive training. All of these things will help motivate Louie to want to listen to them.

Next I shared the escalating consequences I use to disagree with unwanted behaviors. These are a key part of training a dog to stay behind an invisible line.

To help practice this approach, I had the guardian give the grandkids a snack at the dining room table so I could show them how to teach a dog to stay behind a boundary on their own. You can learn how to teach a dog to respect a boundary by watching the free dog training video below.

Id recommend the guardians practice enforcing this boundary with one another for meals when possible. After enough practice, Louie will stop trying to get close when people have food and instead stay behind the boundary on his own.

Louie is a great dog, he was just confused as to where his position in the family was. By increasing exercise, adding structure and discipline and rewarding the behaviors they want. it shouldn’t take his family long to teach him to behave the way they want.

Best of all, they don’t have to go to school to become a professional Golden Retriever trainer to do these things now that I showed them the way. If they forget or things stop going in the right direction, I asked them to give me a call or text to address things.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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