Please click on the tabs to go to a subject

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Door Bolters

Caution: Pet parents should not a punish a dog for bolting (no hitting, yanking, yelling, poking ribs, , neck jabbing, pushing to the ground etc..).  This will make the dog feel worse about the thing he/she is chasing.

Dogs bolt out of doors for various reasons - opportunity, excitement, prey drive etc.. No matter what the issue, bolting is a serious matter that should be addressed.
Dogs who run out into the street could get run over. A dog might run up to the wrong person or wrong dog and hurt someone or get hurt. Management is key.

Management Options - Implement one, some, or all of the below

If the family house has a garage, always leave and enter through the garage whether or not cars are in there.  If the dog gets out the door, he/she will wind up in the garage, not in the street.

Put the dog in a bedroom behind a closed door whenever anyone leaves the house

Crate the dog whenever anyone is about to leave the house. Dogs must be acclimated to a crate. More details

Training - Mid Term
Teach the dog wait at the door. Any trainer can demonstrate this in one training session. Be sure to only hire a
competent trainer

Video from Puddin's Training Tips
Video from Eric Letrendre - only use a leash for back up. Do not yank the leash on purpose.

Teach your dog to follow you instead of running ahead of you (partially taken from Behavior Problems in Dogs by Bill Campbell):

As you are walking through the house, if your dog runs in front of you, turn around and go in the other direction so the dog is forced to follow. Do this every single time the dog runs past you. You can also treat the dog whenever he/she is behind you.

Video on following

Another method mentioned in Campbell's book goes like this: Get up to go to the door. If the dog tries to go with you, sit back down and the dog should follow you back to your chair. Then try again. Keep doing it until the dog stays in place and doesn't follow you to the door.

After you have some door manners established, you should never 100% trust your dog. Continuing to use the crate or bedroom or garage is a good idea. But if you don't want to do that all the time, set up some barriers inside and outside the house. Many dogs can get over or through
baby gates or play pens but these items will still slow the dog down. Time enough for you to get the dog's attention.

Inside barrier

Outside barrier

Long Term Actions

The next step would be to start a life long regimen of obedience training with a skilled and competent trainer. Obedience training that seems unrelated to the issue can be quite helpful. Teaching a dog obedience commands will help the dog with impulse control, hyperactivity, etc..
You can look for a trainer at this site:  Do not use a trainer who uses aversives like yanking (leash pops, leash "corrections", hitting, scolding, etc..

The next step would be to try some counter conditioning and desensitization to fast moving things. Here is an article on dog reactive dogs. Pet parents can just replace "running humans" for "dogs".
Some good trainers - Karen Pearce, Diana Wilkins, Gary Oswalt. SA Big Dawgs has free training.

Set up a benevolent "Nothing in Life is Free" program. A good book on this subject is
How to be the Leader of the Pack and Have Your Dog Love You For It by Patricia McConnell. Next have a highly skilled trainer help you impliment the Premack principle to work with (instead of against) the dog's strong prey drive. Read Oh Behave by Donaldson to get some idea of how a trainer should be helping you.

The dog must wear a properly fitted
martingale collar. (a good trainer can help with this) The martingale is not for every day use. Use a regular collar for ID tags. Put on the martingale for walks.

If biting is a concern for you or others, then the dog can wear a
basket muzzle when outside the house. Do not use a muzzle that restricts air flow. More on muzzles here

Continue with training all the time, keep the barriers up at all times.

Keep the dog leased any time he is outside the house - even if it's only for a second. The leash must not come off unless the dog is completely inside the house with the door is closed.
Physical and mental exercise is important. Exercise the mind and body every day..

If the dog is not already spayed/neutered, get this done right away.
For more training tips, check out our blog at 

No comments:

Post a Comment