How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog


How to Train Your Door-Dashing DogIf you have a Houdini dog that manages to slip out anytime a door is opened or your pup practically knocks you over while trying to squeeze past you to get outside, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to train your door-dashing dog! Just make sure your pooch knows the Sit command and is fully housebroken before you get started. Ready? Just follow these simple steps!

How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog

When your dog wants to go outside, give the Sit command while he’s near the door.
After he sits, say “Wait” then slowly open the door just an inch, making sure he doesn’t push his way through.
If his butt leaves the ground, close the door and wait for him to sit again.
Repeat opening the door just an inch until he stays in the sitting position while it’s open.
Give your dog a release command, such as “Okay!”, then fully open the door and allow him to proceed outside.

Continue practicing the steps above while opening the door an inch more each time until he remains sitting when the door is fully open.

Need Some Tips?

  • Don’t grab your dog’s collar to hold them back. The goal is for your dog to learn self control in order to get what they want.
  • If you live in an area where it could be dangerous for your dog if they slip out unexpectedly, use a long leash while training.
  • Combine the Wait command with a hand signal, like using your open palm as a stop sign gesture.
  • You can also use the Stay command when asking your dog to wait, but I tend to use Stay when I want Haley to remain in place for longer periods of time.
  • For determined door dashers, you may need to step into the space between them and the door opening in order to help them settle into a sitting position.
  • Make sure all family members participate in the training and reinforce good door manners.
  • Some doors might be more exciting than others and may require extra training time for your pooch.
  • Be patient. The more times a dog has experienced the self-rewarding behavior of escaping through an open door, the longer it may take to train new door manners.

Next, Build on Your Dog’s Good Door Manners!

  • Once your dog masters sitting before being released through an open door, wait until he looks at you before giving the release command.
  • Have your pup wait to be released once you open his crate door.
  • Train your dog to wait before exiting from an open car door.
  • Practice on all types of doors and in different locations, such as at other people’s houses, stores or the gates at dog parks.
  • Once your dog understands the Wait command and hand gesture, try using them in other situations when you want your dog to pause momentarily before moving forward.

Most dogs will learn these manners quickly because they’re motivated to figure out how to get what they want. The freedom and adventure to explore what awaits on the other side of the door is a powerful enticement. Intact dogs and certain breeds of dogs may be more tenacious about wanting to explore the outside world, but for any dog that struggles with developing the self control to wait patiently, try to ensure they have plenty of other mental stimulation and physical exercise during the day.

Dog Door MannersEven if your dog is not inclined to slip out and engage you in a game of Catch Me if You Can, training proper door manners will ensure your pup stays safe. Roaming dogs can get into all kinds of trouble, from getting lost or stolen to getting injured or ingesting harmful substances. But wait! There’s one last bonus to training doggie door manners; you’ll actually enjoy having your next house full of guests instead of worrying the entire time about someone accidentally letting your dog slip outside.

Have you had success in training a door-dashing dog? Leave a comment and share your tips and tricks!

How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog

27 Comments on “How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog”

    • I’m sharing this on Next Door – do you have that app where you live? Every day I read about dogs lost as they bolted out the door. I have gates built in to every door way to prevent this from happening and they’re really good at waiting but if I opened the door and the mail man was there I’m afraid of the outcome!

      • Thanks so much for sharing the post, Christine! I’m going to check out the Next Door app. I haven’t heard of it before, but I do get notifications from HomeAgain when there’s a lost dog or cat in my area. I’m so glad there are more and more resources for people that lose their pets.

    • Perfect training method for teaching the wait command. I use Wait every day with my dogs. They must wait at every door, including car doors. They wait for their Food & even while we play hide the treat; they must wait before they begin the treat hunting. This is one of those commands that can save your dog’s life some day!
      Love & biscuits,
      Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

      • All that reinforcement on the Wait command is fantastic and you’re so right, Cathy. It could prevent a tragedy one day. I was amazed at how easy this was to train at the door!

      • What a wonderful way to look at this training!! That’s why I’m interested. I have two black Lab rescues that love to rush the door, especially the front door. I’ve got to try this method, they both know sit, but stay– not so much! Wish me luck, they are 5 and 11!❤

    • Here is an idea you can try, when I tell my dog were going outside or going for a walk she gets overly excited and starts jumping up in the air like she is doing a dance. I will tell her to sit and wait. If she doesn’t listen I tell her your not ready to go and I will sit back in my recliner after a minute she comes and sits right in front of me. Than I will say are you ready to go,when she just sits I make her sit and wait to make sure she is ready than I put the leash on her and she is ready to go she is also calm at this point. This seems to work for my dog because when I sit back down I ignore her totally until it looks like she is ready. She also knows if she doesn’t calm down I will put her leash away and she will miss one of her walks. Try it this might work for some dogs.

      • That’s a fantastic tip, Katherine! I should have tried that years ago when I struggled with Haley pulling on the leash during walks. I bet if we would have waited until she was calm, it would have saved both of us a lot of aggravation. Thanks so much for sharing your tip! ?

    • That is an important skill! I just posted on Groovy Goldendoodles that I worry that Leo will somehow unlock the door and get out when I’m not home. Just last night, he poked his head out the door while Rob took out the garbage. He hasn’t gone on a wild romp lately, but more because of management than actual training!

      • I’ve heard of dogs doing that before; they jump up and hit the lock button and manage to get out. Hopefully Leo won’t figure that one out anytime soon. Good luck with the training, Kari! ?

    • Oh yes, such an important command! Patience and consistency are definitely key “ingredients” in the training process. I started incorporating polite door manners at a very early age, right when the pups came to live with us.

      • You’ve done amazing training with Buzz and Missy. They’re both so mannerly and great canine role models. Not to mention, they’re both so adorable! ?

    • I don’t know if this method applies to car doors and I can’t seem to find an answer to that issue anywhere online right now. I have 75 lb pitbull (love him like nuts) but yes he can be a handful, but whenever I drive up to the dog park I have to make sure when I open the door I grab the leash quickly or he will start to run into the street. And it has gotten bad to the point where I caught his leash but in the process of doing so I slammed my knuckles into my car so I had a huge bruise on it. What should I do?

      • Oh geez, that sounds painful, Caroline. It can be really frustrating when they’re so worked up (and dangerous too). The concept will work great with car doors too, just be prepared in case your boy decides to try to push his way out. If it’s not hot inside the car, I would wait outside the door until he sits and calms down, then start working on opening it slowly.

        It does take some patience though, especially the first few times. So, be prepared to allow more time and maybe you won’t even get him out of the car the first time if he doesn’t calm down. Just use the visit as a training session if that happens. It’s basically a waiting game at first, but patience really pays off. Good luck! ?

    • We start this training when they are puppies being crate trained. We make them wait to come out of the opened crate door until we release them with an “okay” command. It makes it so much easier once they have that down, to do the same for the outside doors!

    • Katie at Meadowia

      Wow, I never realized that training a door could be so simple and beneficial – definitely going to give it a try!

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