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Escaping Doorways & House
by Tracy Atkins
Complete Canine Training, LLC
P.O. Box 131652
The Woodlands, TX 77393
281-825-6404 www.YESPUP.com

Uncontrolled behavior at doorways is not only bothersome for guests; it's potentially life threatening If your dog escapes. This training skill is called a "place" command. It teaches the dog to settle in a predestinated area for the duration of the owners command. The place can be any object, like a dog bed or mat, or it can be a physical location like a small area of a large room.

The goal is to teach the dog to enjoy being in the area, so that when distractions occur; the dog maintains a willingness to stay on his "place". Once training is completed, if your dog is in this place, he should not be disturbed, unless it is to be released or reinforced. Please do not allow children to disturb your dog when he is in his "place".

Please choose what you will call the location (bed/carpet/place) and what behavior you will require him to stay in once he's there (sit/down).

1) Put a dog bed, or mat, on the floor in an area you would like the dog to rest at. It is best to begin with no distractions, this may include TV; children; other pets; toys; food; activity.

2) Get your dog's attention by playfully encouraging him to the bed. You may lure him with a toy or treat or simply point to the bed if he's familiar with it. Have him sit or lay down on the bed. (We prefer dogs LAY on their bed as most dogs are less likely to get up quickly if they are lying down. Laying down behavior is helpful when teaching your dog to say on his bed for extended times.) Say "Yes, Bed!" and give a reward. He may get up immediately or he may choose to stay on the bed. Either is acceptable!

NOTE: "YES" is used to indicate to the dog that he is ALL DONE doing what you wanted. It is important to say "YES" before you give the treat/reward.

3) Standing within three feet of the bed, playfully call him away from the bed and then encourage him back to it, following step two again. (Be sure to say "Yes" and THEN reward while he is on the bed) Repeat step two about twenty to thirty times, making sure he is sitting or lying down on the bed before you release and reward him. (This should take less than two minutes for the average dog.)

4) If the dog is on the bed, encourage him off it. Step about two feet away from the bed, positioning yourself in such a way the dog could easily get to the bed. Let the dog come to you and sniff the treat. Quickly put the treat behind your back; LOOK at his bed and wait.
If the dog goes to the bed, say "Yes Go to Bed" and give a reward and skip to step five. If not, you can give him a hint by tossing the treat onto the bed and just before he gets to the treat say "Yes, Go to Bed!" Then repeat the beginning of step four again.

NOTE: This may be modified by encouraging the dog to lay by giving the hand signal for lay down and wait for the dog to be laying before saying "Yes, Go to Bed!"

5) Repeat step four about twenty to thirty times. (This should take less than two minutes.) This step is to assure dog the quicker he gets on the bed and sits (or lays down for "carpet") the quicker he will be rewarded.

6) Next, move further away from the bed and say " Bed!" If the dog goes to it say "Yes, bed" and give multiple rewards.
NOTE: Multiple rewards are called "jackpots". They are used OCCASIONALLY (one time every ten to twenty repetitions) to reinforce desired behavior.

7) Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 until the dog will go to Bed and get into position when you ask. Remember to say "yes" and give a reward when the dog goes to "Bed".
STOP: Even though you may be able to complete steps one through seven in one training session DO NOT progress to the next stages until your dog has had a period of rest. This training works most effectively if training sessions are kept to less than 15 minutes each session. Some dogs will progress faster with even shorter sessions.

Repeat the above steps in other training sessions as needed until your dog is proficient at going to the bed on command. You may then add the following steps to teach a stay behavior.

8) While inside, YOU knock on the INSIDE of the door, in a pleasant voice say "Bed", then wait for the behavior. Say "Yes", then reward if it occurs. If not, help your dog by luring him to the bed and repeat step 2.

9) While inside, knock on the door, ask for "bed" wait for the behavior, open the door slightly (Some dogs will require practice of simply jiggling the door handle several repetitions before the door can be opened. You will know you need to add this step if you try to open the door and the dog gets up.) If the dog remains on the carpet, say "Yes" and reward.

Progress to stage 10 only when: you can have the door open, say "hello" (even though no one is there) and the dog remains on the carpet until released "Yes" and rewarded.

10) For this step an assistant is required.
Have the assistant stand outside and knock on the door as though s/he were going to visit. Allow the dog to bark or jump for a moment at the door, then, ask the dog to "Bed". It is important you be in the same physical location as you practiced in stage 3 when you ask go to "Bed". Because of the excitement of the door knock, some dogs will have to be gently reminded and "teased" with the reward to remember going to the bed is exciting too! Once the dog gets there and into position (sit or down) say "Yes" and reward with a jackpot (for example: ten treats)
Once the dog can quickly complete going to the bed when the door is knocked, ring the bell instead and follow step 10.

NOTES: If the dog does not go to the bed on his own, lead him there and use a hand signal for him to get into position (sit or down) then say "Yes" and reward.
For a dog who has difficulty going to the bed immediately, go back to step 9 until he is able to go to the bed quickly, then progress to step 10.

11) The assistant is still needed.
The doorbell is rung, you command "Bed". Once the dog gets there and in position (sit or down) and remains there, you may open the door with the assistant on the outside.

Instructions for the assistant: If the dog gets up from position, the assistant is to quickly get outside and close the door while the owner/handler gets the dog back to the bed and into position.

The assistant is then invited inside and will keep his/her focus on the human, and NOT look at or talk to the dog. If the dog remains long enough for the assistant to enter the house, say "Yes" and reward with a jackpot (10-15 treat pieces) also thoroughly praise and play with the dog and allow him to greet the assistant.

NOTE:If the dog gets up at any time, the door is closed quickly and no release/reward are given. If the dog remains, a jackpot reward is given.

TIPS: Go slow. Take baby steps. Say "YES" and reward for any behavior that looks like what you want. In a quiet voice, say "Oops" to mean "you're not quite right, but keep trying".

 

Copyright 1994-2008 Tracy Atkins, Complete Canine Training, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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