Another problem I have (and that I’m sure I share with other dog owners) is getting Bo in and out of the front door in a calm way. To have a dog who tries, or succeeds, to pull you out of the door before you get out poses two problems. Firstly, that he is starting the walk excited and his mood will continue in that way. Secondly, that your dog is showing that he is more dominant than you.
My plan with Bo was, after working on getting ready last week and to put his lead on nicely, I have him sat in the doorway. However, for me to unlock the door, we need to be closer. And he knows this, so Bo does move, so I tell him immediately to sit just by the door. Which he does, eventually. I unlock the door, repeatedly telling him to wait. I use the command wait here instead of stay. For Bo, stay is when I am going to come back for him and then release him, wait is when I need him to wait until I have done something, like unlocked the door, and then he can follow me. These commands work well. Until we switched to differentiating between the two, Bo would always be itching to move when I told him to stay. Now, when I say stay he is better, he still twitches on wait though!
So, I tell Bo to wait, and then unlock the door, and slowly walking backwards (carefully) I move out of the door first whilst holding onto his lead and telling him to wait. A couple of times he followed me too quick, but I just moved him back to where he was and told him to wait again. Which he eventually gets. Then, I go out the door, once I am out I release him by saying ok and he comes out after me.
After our walk Bo is far more willing to do what I say, which makes coming back into the house easier. I want to go through the door first, so upon getting to the door I tell him to sit and wait. I then unlock the door and continually tell him to wait until I am in, then he comes in. Once in, I tell him to sit in the same spot where he waits while I get ready to go out. I want him to know that he has to wait calmly on either end of the walk. He sits in the spot, and I tell him to stay. I put my shoes on the shoe rack, take off his lead and take my coat off. Only then do I give him a treat and say ok, and he tends to go to his basket and sleep!
It is always important to remember to keep hold of your dogs lead when coming back into the house, otherwise if he gets distracted, he could fly off and into the road. It is also important to remember that if your dog moves before you tell them to, you need to put them back where they were and do it again.
When doing either stay or wait, Bo gives tell tale signs that he is about to break the command. He twitches once, then moves. If I see it happening, before he moves I release him and praise him. It is far easier for them to learn by doing this than by putting them back and starting again. Bo can only stay or wait for a certain time period, which is different in different places with different distractions. So, it is important to look for your dogs capability and not to push them too far. Bo’s timings are short at the moment, but have been improving as we do the exercise more and more.
Bo is slowly getting the hang of going in the door, coming out is a little harder, but we will get there in the end I am sure!