One of the most useful skills you can teach your dog (and I believe that every dog should know this) is that an open door does NOT mean go through it. Many dogs escape and run away from their homes each year from door-jetting leading to serious injury or death. People are highly impressed when I can open the door widely to let them in and the dogs don’t have a single urge to run through and escape. Fixing the door-jetting problem  keeps you from “holding your dog back” when guests enter or forcing your guests to squeeze through the door to prevent Spot for slipping out.  It’s simple to teach this concept, actually, you will just need to do it  consistently. Put a leash on your dog and make sure they are CALM. Open the door and give a leash correction to the side if your dog pulls forward. Stay calm yourself. Depending on the level of intensity to which your dog likes to be the first one out the door, you may need to continue to correct a few more times. You can “shhht”, touch, give a leg tap, snap your fingers, “ah-ah”, or continue to give a quick-snap leash correction to the side. I taught this concept to a dog I was grooming yesterday (whom I had never met before); it took me three corrections and then he sat down and looked at me. THAT is when you walk through the door. I’m a big advocate of going out the door first. In the wild, the pack leader will always lead the pack by going first. You can help solidify your position by doing this in your home. Even if you’re letting your dog out in the backyard by himself, open the door and make him wait until he’s calm. Then YOU step out the door and motion for him to come out (then you can step back inside and close the door).

Give this a try this week and let me know how it goes. It can truly be life-saving! Doors get left open accidentally and this preventative measure will keep your dog safe inside. Lead your dog!

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