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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Doggie Door Manners for Runaway Pups!

Teaching your dog to wait at doorways isn't solely about instilling good manners; it's a fundamental safety practice. When your dog bolts through doorways, they can risk getting hit by a car, injuring you, or hurting themselves. Here's your comprehensive guide to ensure your furry companion excels in this essential skill:

  1. Sit Before Entry: Begin by walking up to the doorway and patiently waiting for your dog to sit. As soon as your dog complies, click and treat. Then, move away from the doorway to reset. Repeat this step until your dog reliably sits when you approach the doorway. Importantly, do not give a verbal cue for sitting at this stage. The door will become an environmental cue to sit!

  2. Adding Door Touch: Now, approach the doorway and wait for your dog to sit. Lightly touch the door, and if your dog maintains the sit, click while your hand is on the door, then reward with a treat. Continue this process until your dog consistently holds the sit when you touch the door.

  3. Turn the Doorknob: Once your dog is comfortable with door touches, it's time to introduce the doorknob. Approach the doorway and wait for your dog to sit. As you turn the doorknob, if your dog maintains the sit, click and treat. Repeat this step until your dog reliably holds the sit during the doorknob's movement. Only reset if your dog gets up from the sit.

  4. Crack the Door Open: Now, take it a step further by slightly cracking the door open while your dog is sitting. If your dog continues to hold the sit, click while the door is open, close the door and reward your dog. Work on this until you can get the door all the way open while your dog maintains the sit.

  5. Adding Duration: Once you are able to open the door all the way, gradually work on your dog holding the sit with the door open. To do this begin by opening the door all the way if your dog maintains the sit click and treat your dog every one or two seconds for maintaining the sit. Repeat this exercise a few times with the door open, then close it and repeat until your dog can sustain the sit with the door open for around 5 seconds. If your dog gets up at any time close the door, walk away and reset.

  6. Introducing Stay: Now it's time to incorporate the concept of staying in place. Open the door, attempt to put one foot out of the door, if your dog remains in the sit put your foot back inside then click and treat. Once your dog is relaible with one foot begin to try and take a whole step out of the door, each time you will step out, then step back inside and then click and treat your dog. Practice this step until your dog is reliably staying seated when you open the door and take a step out.

  7. Adding a Release Cue: Finally, introduce a release cue for your dog to understand when it's time to move. Step out of the doorway and say "okay" then show your dog your target hand (your flat palm) when your dog gets up from the sit click and treat. When you take your step out of the door, wait a second to ensure your dog remains seated, then click and treat the moment your dog stands up.


Consistent practice and positive reinforcement are key to teaching your dog to wait at doorways successfully. With time and patience, your pup will learn this valuable skill, ensuring both their safety and your peace of mind. Happy training! 🚪🐕 #DogTraining #DoorwayEtiquette #HappyPup

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