Every dog owner would really appreciate if their dog learnt how to open doors and let themselves out in the morning.
Some dogs like those trained to be guides are taught this skill as a necessity. However, any dog can basically learn this skill and your dog is no exception.
For you to effectively teach your dog how to close and open doors, I want to share with you some useful tips that you can use.
You will need colored sticky notes, a clicker and your dog’s favorite treat.
1. Teach your puppy to touch the sticky note
This is a very effective way to teach your dog to open the door.
You need to hold out a sticky note to your dog and let him touch it with his paw. You can use the same colored sticky note and post it to the door which you want your dog to open.
Make sure that the position of the sticky note is at a strategic point which your dog can easily reach with his paw. Let your dog sniff or touch the sticky note with his paw so that he can familiarize himself with it.
Say the word “Door!” to your puppy as you let him touch the sticky note with his paw. Once he does, you can give him his favorite treat immediately.
2. Stick the sticky note to the door
The next step is to stick the sticky note onto the door. I would advise that you use the same colors so as not to confuse your furry friend.
Make sure that the sticky note you have on your hand is the same color as the one that you stick on to the door you want him to open.
Stick it at a place that he can easily tap using his paw. Show your dog the sticky note and again say the word “Door” to him.
If he follows through and goes ahead to tap the sticky note give him a reward and shower him with praise even if the door barely moved because that is a great step.
3. Withhold the treat a little bit longer
Try to withhold the treat a little bit longer and allow your dog to push the door a little bit harder.
Dog experts recommend that positive reinforcement is the best and most effective way to make your dog obey your commands.
Using his favorite treat and showering your dog with praise is the best. This time he taps the sticky note on the door, withhold the treat for a few more minutes until he tries to push the door harder until he opens it.
Once your dog pushes the door open make sure to give him his favorite treat and make a great fuss. He will sure want to impress you again next time.
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4. Teach him to close
You can repeat the above exercise a number of times every day for at least a week or so until your dog learns to open the door.
Once he learns this skill, you can now teach him how to close the door by placing the sticky note on the other side and let him push the door shut with his nose on the sticky note.
You can reduce the size of the sticky note so that it gets smaller every time. This will be useful in letting your dog associate the action of closing your door rather than relying on the piece of paper.
5. Play a game of tug!
This should be a fun way of teaching your dog how to open the door.
Depending on how your door knob is designed, you can tie a rope to your door knob and let your dog tug it.
You can start by playing a game of tug of war with your puppy until they register in their mind that whenever they see the rope they just need to grab and pull.
You need to be aware that dogs are very intelligent and learn to follow routines and patterns.
Tie the rope to the door knob and tell him to “Tug!” If he obeys and pulls the rope thus opening the door, give him a treat and applaud him.
In a nutshell, training with practice makes perfect.
Repeat the exercises every day for at least 30 minutes for the next few days until your dog can easily open and close the door by himself. This will be a big milestone and you will make you a proud dog owner.
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