Operation Kindness Blog

How to Keep Your Dog from Door Darting

Door Darting Dogs

Dogs are naturally curious and playful, which can sometimes lead to the frustrating and dangerous habit of darting out the front door. While your first instinct might be to chase after them, this often turns into a fun game for your furry friend. To prevent these escapades, follow these effective steps to keep your free-spirited dog safely inside.

  1. Clear the Decks

When expecting someone at your door—whether it’s a guest, repairman or delivery—take precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t make a break for it. Place your dog in a secure location away from the front door, such as:

  • Another room with the door closed
  • Outside for a few minutes
  • In a crate
  • Behind a baby/pet gate blocking access to the front door

These measures help prevent your sneaky pup from squeezing out unexpectedly.

  1. Install Protective Measures

Use barriers like baby/pet gates, crates or dog exercise pens to keep your pet safely confined. Here’s how to choose the right one for your needs:

  • Baby Gates or Pet Gates: Ideal for average-sized doors, these gates can effectively prevent your dog from escaping. For dogs with strong darting behavior, consider a pet gate with a human walk-through door. Most of these gates can be easily installed and moved, perfect for those renting or needing to take down their gates regularly.
  • Exercise Pens: For larger openings, extendable exercise pens can be a great solution. You can also place your dog inside an enclosed exercise pen.

For more tips on crating your dog, check out our crate training article.

  1. Teach Your Dog to Come to You in Emergencies

Despite your best efforts, there will be times when your preventive measures fail. For these situations, train your dog to respond to an emergency recall cue. Here’s how:

  • Choose an Emergency Cue: Select a word or phrase that your dog associates with something positive and exciting, like “Want to go for a ride?” or “Want a treat?”
  • Use the Cue Wisely: Only use this cue in emergency situations. When your dog escapes, get their attention with the cue and run in the opposite direction to get their reward.
  • Always Reward: When your dog comes to you, reward them with high-value treats no matter how challenging it was to get them back. Never punish your dog for finally returning, as this will hinder your training efforts.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of your dog darting out the front door. Remember, consistency and positive reinforcement are key to successful training.

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