Living with dogs

Door Manners

Teaching dogs to be respectful at entry / exit points is easy if you can be patient in the beginning and consistent throughout the dogs life.

The first step is to be aware of which way the door swings. When positioning your dog to sit, you need to know where the door swings so the dog doesn't get in the way of the door or get his paws jammed under the door.

Start by asking the dog to sit. Begin to reach for the door knob. If the dog doesn't move, give him a treat. If he pops out of position, simply ask him to sit again. Bit by bit you want to reach further with your hand, turn the door knob and begin to open the door; shut the door and give your dog a treat. Continue until you can open the door all the way and your dog remains in the sit. Now wait for your dog to look at you. Say his name and step through the door together. Make it an invitation. If at anytime the dog breaks the sit, shut the door and start over again.

Once your dog understands that he must sit and remain sitting until invited through the dog, walking through the door is the reward. You no longer need treats.

This simple behaviour teaches the dog to look to you for direction and builds impulse control. When the weather is foul again, it may save you some injury. Even a little 10 pound fluff ball could pull you off your feet if the front steps are covered in ice.

Tips & Tools

Did you know?

The human and canine eye consists of cones and rods. One allows the individual to see a full spectrum of colour while the other is very sensitive to movement.

Humans have more cones than dogs and dogs have more rods than humans. That means that people can see a whole spectrum of colour while dogs only see a limited amount of colour (blue and yellow being their best).

Next time you drop food on the floor and your dog doesn't "see" it, it is because he is physiologically designed to see movement. Tap the floor next to the food item and your dog will come running because he can see the movement of your finger and will naturally be curious to investigate.