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Doorways, Gateways, CARS

By Sue, from "It's a Dog's Life" - Training YOU to train your dog!

Roddach Cottage West, Main Street, Cummingston, Burghead, Elgin IV30 5XY

Tel: 01343 831420 email:


SAFETY!! Barging through doorways, barging in and out of the car

Barging through doorways can seem rewarding to the young pup. Going out to the garden to empty his bladder or to play or go for a walk represents the reward. Again however, it is not acceptable behaviour and indeed can be dangerous. He may charge out of the door one day and either cause an accident or be run over by a car. In some cases it can represent dominance in that the dog feels that he has the right to go through the door/gate/narrow opening first. There will however, be other very obvious behaviour that indicates dominance and this requires the advice of a professional trainer/behaviourist.

Training for doorways applies to the car as well as the house and the garden; in fact, any narrow opening. Start, say, at the kitchen door. With the pup beside you slowly start to open the door. If he moves forward to go through, quickly but carefully shut the door again while bumping the dog with your thigh. Slowly open the door a short way once again and repeat this until the pup realises that if he moves the door will close. Do be careful of “noses and toeses” and during the whole procedure say nothing until you are in a position to step through the doorway then call his name.

Doors in cars are equally, if not more important than doorways and gates. Imagine parking in town and opening the car door. Your dog leaps out into oncoming traffic and causes an accident whilst possibly injuring or killing himself. You can be sued by injured parties - so beware! We can minimise the risk by training our dog not to come out of the car until told. The routine is the same as for house doorways and garden gates. With the dog in the car, slowly start to open the door/lift the tailgate. If he moves forward to get out, quickly but carefully close the door. After several repetitions of this your trainee will realise, as in the house, that the door will only open if he stays put. Again say absolutely nothing – if he works it out for himself the lesson will be more firmly established and more thoroughly learnt. Quietly put on his lead and wait again before saying his name to bring him to you. Once he has learned to sit upon command, we will add this to the exercise so that he comes out of the car and sits, goes through doorways and sits. This gives you a chance to lock the car, gather the shopping, etc.


If you are travelling at 30mph with your dog unrestrained in the back of your car and you have to execute an emergency stop, he may well hit the back of your head/your child’s head at 60mph – THAT WILL BREAK YOUR/YOUR CHILD’S NECK!!!

Did you know ……….it is now the law that your dog must be restrained in your car – behind a dog guard, in a car cage or in a safety harness and seatbelt.

Dog guards can be expensive if bought for your own particular make and model of car while others are not very substantial and can be “pawed” down easily. Car cages can double up as housedens depending on your vehicle, which is very useful when you want to go on holiday and can also prevent the young dog chewing the car interior!! A harness and specially made seatbelt attachment is the cheapest way of securing your dog.



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