Doorway Treats: No Running Out the Door!

Pets running out the door: Dangerous, Annoying, and Stressful!

Pets happily waiting inside until they are invited to go out (IF they are invited!): Priceless.

When you want to “stop” a behavior, simply envision the opposite behavior that your pet could do instead.  Teach this alternate behavior to “replace” the behavior you don’t want.  In this case, the opposite of running toward/out the door is turning away from the door and moving in the opposite direction.

Train this by tossing treats in the direction you want the pet to go – away from the door.

Sarah and Thomas demonstrate getting Evie to move away from the door so they can easily exit. Evie no longer goes on jaunts around their cul-de-sac at will!

By doing this every time you open the door, you’re creating a new routine: a new response to the stimulus of opening the door.  Over time, you’ll see your pet waiting farther away from the door for the treat.

You can use the same technique when you’re coming in the door; some pets are all over you as you enter, causing you to stumble or drop your stuff.  Other pets can’t wait to run out and see what the rest of the world looks like, while you’re trying to come in from a long day.  At first, you may have to open the door just a crack, reach your hand in, and toss the treat to get your pet to move far enough away for you to open the door and walk in without squeezing through! Over time, you’ll see your pet waiting farther away. You’re establishing the location where your pet will wait by where you toss the treats.

In this video, Kyle and Luna are doing a daily practice session. Luna waits while Kyle steps out. She moves away from the door again when he comes inside. Kyle chose to establish the carpet as the area for Luna to wait, so he’s building the behavior with that criterion. The location is the trainer’s choice.

Teach this behavior and practice it, and you won’t have to shimmy through your door sideways any longer!  Your pet will wait patiently inside as you go out and when you come in the door.

Doorway Treats: Put Them Where You Need Them

In order to practice regularly, your treats need to be where you’re going to need them.  This is part of your planning process for your training sessions.  These wall planters are just right – not too big or in the way, big enough to hold plenty of treats, and decorative.

Evie can’t wait to play the doorway game!
These wall planters, unfortunately no longer available from Amazon, hold a generous supply of Evie’s favorite treats and look nice doing it! (Amazon has other styles available.)
Gladys’ parents used the same wall planters to hold treat supplies by the back door. . . .
. . . . and the front door! Easily-available treats encourage frequent practice for proficient behavior.

To make training easier, place a wall basket just outside your door, too. Keep non-perishable treats in a plastic bag available there. You and your visitors will be able to easily grab treats to help your pet learn to be calm and keep 4-on-the-floor while humans come in the door. These same treats are handy for teaching pets to keep their 4 paws on the floor instead of jumping up on everyone who enters your home.

This is my treat basket, just outside my front door. You can see the ziplock bag inside, with plenty of treats. They’re easy to grab for your own practice and for visitors to use at appropriate times!

As Dr. Bob Bailey often says, “Training is simple, but not always easy.” Put in the effort to make it easy on yourself. Make the plans, do the preparations, and gain the benefits for yourself and your pets!

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