Using Classical Conditioning to Stop a Dog From Rushing Out the Door

By: David Codr

Published Date: February 26, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we used Classical Conditioning to train 10 month-old Mini Husky Alaskan Klee Kai mix Ruby to move away from the door when people knock.

I waited outside the door for a minute to allow Ruby to calm down a bit. Many people confuse excitement for happiness in dogs, but excited is an unbalanced state of mind; a time when any creature is more likely to make a mistake.

Once Ruby had calmed down, I came inside and sat down with the guardian to discuss her door dashing problem. I learned Ruby didn’t have many rules which causes may dogs to get confused into thinking they have the same rank or authority as the humans they live with. Problem is, if a dog sees you as a peer, then listing to you is optional.

I shared a number of tips to flip the leader follower dynamic such as petting with a purpose, increasing exercise, adding in rules and passive training to motivate Ruby to offer desired behaviors instead.

Next I went over how to teach a dog to move away from the door when people knock. Many people continue to answer the door with the dog in front of them, but this can confuse the dog into thinking you are supporting them instead of the other way around. The free dog training video below shows you how to train a dog to move away from the door when people knock.

This is a simple exercise that is easy to do. The reason it stops a dog from charging the door is the classical conditioning principle that conditions the dog to relate going to the area away from the door results in a treat.

Id like to see the guardian practice this door manners exercise 2-4 times a day for a week with no one at the door. This will help establish the command word and allow the dog to practice in the easiest form possible. The second week, the guardian can enlist the help of a friend to take it to the next level. In no time the dog will stop running to the door when someone knocks.

To help the guardian remember all the dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we filmed a roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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