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Discussion Starter #1
Here is my situation:

Both dogs are full of energy/excitement and want to go outside. I start to open the door and they both try to bolt outside at the same time, stepping all over me and jamming through the partially opened door. Very rude. They have pulled the sliding screen door off it's track more times than I can count. So naturally I would think to teach them to sit and wait at the door until they are released. The problem is that when I do that it seems to build the anticipation and make things even worse. Now they're even MORE excited to rush out the door and the competition between them seems to be even stronger. Kane always thinks he has to be first too, so if Pepper happens to have a better position closer to the door opening, Kane will try to shove Pepper out of the way so he can be first. My bare feet have taken many deep gouges from claws as they try to gain traction to get outside quicker than the other.

As soon as they're through the doorway it's a big race into the yard and they are so amped up they will usually find something to start barking at. Then 30 seconds later it's all over, they go back to normal and start sniffing around, etc.

They never used to be this bad, but it's becoming a problem for me. When I take them to daycare, I know the staff there make them wait at the door (and they're SUPER excited to go in) so I'm wondering if that's actually making it worse at home?

I have tried releasing only 1 at a time, which does help if I can accomplish that, but then it doesn't really change their behaviour, it's just only one at a time to deal with.

I have thought about leashing them and taking them out on leash as a way of training them out of the habit, but there are some problems with that idea. First, I suspect as soon as they're on leash they will be calmer and it won't be a problem anymore. Then I think the same situation will happen when I take them off the leashes to release them into the yard. I'm not prepared to take them out on leash every time they need to go outside. They don't even wear their collars at home so it would be a huge inconvenience to get them all leashed up every time just to walk through a doorway.

They don't do this every time they are let out. Sometimes they are calm, sometimes only one of them needs to go out. It's only in those times when they are full of energy, like first thing in the morning or right after I get home from work.

I'm not sure what to do.
 

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There are times when impulse control training is actually "building drive" and that is what is going on here.

Sooo.. take a step back. Separate the dogs (first) and in a low key situation teach each dog to wait separately, by name, for something they want. A ball. Dinner. Whatever.

The thing you want to work toward is releasing one dog at a time and, when they are released, instead of flying off they go, stop and then fly off after they have stopped (clear of the door).

In the release I would have food on the floor that they would stop and get and then off to the full meal in a bowl. Similar to a restart on track.. you don't want the dog to lie down indicating in article and then leap up and take off like a bullet. You need to give them a reason to get up and stop.. and then calmly go on tracking. Same thing with going through a door.

So, teach each dog in the house or in the yard to respond to a release based on their name and then teach them together, releasing one at a time. Get that good and solid and then add more exciting things to be released to until you can get them to go through a door way one at a time. Calmly.
 

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I taught my four big dogs one at a time to sit at the door and only come in (or out) when their name is said. When they were each solid, I added one at a time. It took a while but where it used to be a stampede, they now sit and wait for their name. I do the same out of the kennel run. It is easy to teach as you just start to open the door and if they move towards it, you shut it and try again. They then get a treat for staying with the door open.
 

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I find that a release cue can be too general at times, especially if it's tied to a high arousal opportunity like running outside. Instead, I would cue them to do an incompatible behavior. For example, with Brae instead of saying "free" to let him out, I started by opening the door and saying "go potty". Letting him out was not an opportunity to go wild and grab the nearest toy (which is what he would do by default), but he had a specific task instead. These days I can say "free" or "let's go" and he knows his first job is to go potty.

On the opposite side of this coin, I'd teach a specific cue for go-crazy. My example is, AFTER Brae potties I will say "ball!" and he will go full throttle into the jolly ball, squish is over and over again in his jaws, slam it against my leg, etc.

So for your scenario, I'd say to pick an incompatible behavior that both dogs know really well. Maybe you can have two mats outside and their job is to go to their mat first? You can train one dog at a time to do this before having both. I like mat behavior because it involves stillness. Or maybe the behavior is to find a specific toy. If they don't guard food from each other, linking outdoor time to foraging is one of the easiest solutions and involves calm, deliberate searching.

Lastly, it sounds like they do exit calmly at times. I would reinforce it, put a cue to it... Whatever it takes to show both dogs that this is deliberate. Then apply the same criteria to morning or post work situations.
 

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I have this about going into the barn,, we have tiny goslings underfoot now.. so going into the barn where the animals are on the other side waiting for me to enter is a must..

things I have used... (my ice breaker) I have put a folded extra large wire dog crate across the door entrance on the inside of the barn. So when I open the door from the outside they hit that second barrier. At first it was enough sudden shock to get break their momentum and get that pause because now they have to wait for me to move the crate out of the way and they all calmer now.

I have also used that same crate to cover only half of the entrance so they have to go in one at a time.

have only allowed one in at a time and shut the door and come back for the second dog after a while. The other one learns to lay down and wait until I come back.

They all have been brought through the door on leash and worked on slow command going through the barn to where I needed them to go. and again the others at the same time are learning to wait out side until I come back to get them and leash them to do the same thing.


It's our life, we face it everyday so we work on it several times a day getting that long term consistency that there is no other way of doing it. They able to respond to the command slow, one at a time, Abhik goes first , Ill be back for you. or the simple OK for them to go right in how ever they fit.. and they still choose to go in single file..

Do feel long term consistency and finding a way to break up the excitement and at times drawing time out before they pass through.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Great ideas everyone! Thank you!

I taught my four big dogs one at a time to sit at the door and only come in (or out) when their name is said. When they were each solid, I added one at a time. It took a while but where it used to be a stampede, they now sit and wait for their name.
I can do this, but the result is the same - as soon as I call a name, it's bolt-out-the-door time for that dog. It's better than two, but I'd like to eliminate the behaviour altogether if possible.

In the release I would have food on the floor that they would stop and get and then off to the full meal in a bowl.
This could definitely work. I could put a treat outside just beyond the door and let one dog out at a time. Then if they try to go racing outside they will miss the treat (and they wouldn't want that! Especially Pepper). I could even have a second treat a few feet ahead. Although I wonder how I would stop the first dog, once out, from eating the treats for the second dog...

So for your scenario, I'd say to pick an incompatible behavior that both dogs know really well. Maybe you can have two mats outside and their job is to go to their mat first? You can train one dog at a time to do this before having both. I like mat behavior because it involves stillness. Or maybe the behavior is to find a specific toy. If they don't guard food from each other, linking outdoor time to foraging is one of the easiest solutions and involves calm, deliberate searching.
Hmm, I could teach them to go to their mat, but I'm afraid one I released them from the mat, they would do the same thing. Or they might not listen to the mat cue and would blow right past. They sometimes will have issues with food, so foraging won't work. Individual treats where they are guaranteed to each get one - that works 99 % of the time.

Lastly, it sounds like they do exit calmly at times. I would reinforce it, put a cue to it... Whatever it takes to show both dogs that this is deliberate. Then apply the same criteria to morning or post work situations.
This could definitely help! How will they know they're being rewarded for exiting calmly though? Do I just use a work like "calm" every time they leave calmly and they just eventually figure it out?

things I have used... (my ice breaker) I have put a folded extra large wire dog crate across the door entrance on the inside of the barn. So when I open the door from the outside they hit that second barrier. At first it was enough sudden shock to get break their momentum and get that pause because now they have to wait for me to move the crate out of the way and they all calmer now.

I have also used that same crate to cover only half of the entrance so they have to go in one at a time.
This is a good idea too! I could buy another free-standing gate and use that. Or maybe I'll just move one of the patio chairs over a few feet so it's in front of the door more, so they have to go around. The humans will have to go around too, but eventually I could probably remove the chair once they've broken their bad habit.
 

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For attaching a cue to calm exits... yeah, I would just say a word or phrase as you let them out, knowing that at that time of day they will exit calmly. Once they are out, reward them with some treats. You can deliberately do a few exits throughout the day for training even when they don't really need to go out. When you think they've picked up the pattern, try it during a usually-crazy time of day.

I'd love to hear how this goes if you try it! Good luck!
 

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Honestly what I would do is get one dog attach a leash, tell them wait/stay, open the door, give them the release command then immediately wait/stay again. They are obviously going to move but hold them back and say uh uh. Put them back into a stay repeat until your dog stops trying to run. This might work because it teaches the dog that even though its been released it always has to pay attention to stop immediately when you ask. If you make it a pattern to stop them a few times when you let them out they will get into a habit of cautiously walking outside and looking back at you waiting to see if you will stop them again. In other words they aren't thinking of bolting out because you have conditioned them to take a few steps wait take a few steps wait and so they will be expecting you to do that and they wont bolt because they know you will say wait and they will hit the end of the leash and have to wait again. The punishment for bolting = stopping and waiting. The reward for calmly walking is they don't have to be stopped. You can use treats and go slow. Make sure they are well exercised before you do this and bored. It helps if you put them on a leash and walk them in and out of the house many time over and over so they become sorta bored and confused. Eventually you phase out the leash and any treats and they will start walking more calmly out. When they get to the point where they walk calmly out I would still tell them stop every now and then to keep them on their toes. Both dogs should be trained separately at first because they are bound to wind each other up. Then you can put them together. Also you can train the dogs to go out one at a time. Basically put both in a wait/stay and hold back the dog that wont be released with a leash use treats if need to keep them still. Release the other dog. Their movement will cause the dog you want to hold back to get up again say uh uh (or any marker word that tells them that thats not what you want) hold them back and reward when they stop pulling and stay. Then release the second dog. This is something that can easily frustrate your dog so accept and reward minimal improvements at first.
 

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Oh in addition the reason they bolt on the release cue is because they know they will always get the reward (to go outside) so they get excited. We always phase out rewards eventually. Although you cant phase going outside out completely. Just remember the release cue is a command not a reward and you dont always have to reward them when they release. For example I tell my dog sit stay. Then I release if they got up in a way that was slow and lazy or overly excited im not going to reward that because I want the release command to be to get up and be free but not to jump on me for treats or go nuts. Il only reward the best releases they do where they get up quickly and excitedly but not knocking me down or nagging me for treats. Same concept with outside. Playing outside is the reward you are showing them just because you released them doesnt mean they get the reward yet. You are chaining multiple commands before the eventual reward just like how you might chain sit, down, stay, break, sit and then YES! (and treat). You dont want the release to become too exciting because they get the reward (going outside) 100% of the time.
 

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Oh in addition the reason they bolt on the release cue is because they know they will always get the reward (to go outside) so they get excited. We always phase out rewards eventually. Although you cant phase going outside out completely. Just remember the release cue is a command not a reward and you dont always have to reward them when they release. For example I tell my dog sit stay. Then I release if they got up in a way that was slow and lazy or overly excited im not going to reward that because I want the release command to be to get up and be free but not to jump on me for treats or go nuts. Il only reward the best releases they do where they get up quickly and excitedly but not knocking me down or nagging me for treats. Same concept with outside. Playing outside is the reward you are showing them just because you released them doesnt mean they get the reward yet. You are chaining multiple commands before the eventual reward just like how you might chain sit, down, stay, break, sit and then YES! (and treat). You dont want the release to become too exciting because they get the reward (going outside) 100% of the time.
Eh, fading rewards isn't necessary for good training; current evidence suggests that withholding reinforcers can decrease the quality of a trained behaviour, especially if fading the reinforcer/reward is not taught as a separate criteria of the behaviour.

But that aside... not sure how it's possible to fade out the reward of going outside when the dogs can tell from context (e.g., sitting at the door) that the release cue means going outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Make sure they are well exercised before you do this and bored.
I know I replied to this when first posted, but I don't know what happened to it! Anyway - the dogs don't bolt out the door when they are well exercised and bored. They only do it when they have pent up energy, like first thing in the morning or right when I arrive home from work.

I have moved the patio chair over to the door as sort of a blockage and it has been working okay, but now they seem to have figured out a way between and are squeezing through when they still want to run outside. I will try the treats trick next I think.

I have been trying to put a reward to calm exits, but they don't seem to notice.
 

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am glad the blockage gave you a moment.. My barn door opens outward the same as your door opens inwards towards where you and the dogs are right effect (sudden pause) for using the blockage but not the best blockage for the time you need to train. have you paired it with a leash, or worked them one at a time. Can't remember if you have used reversed training outside to inside, or indoor training for the house room door ways. Indoor house door ways you take away the excitement so your totally working skills. The folded wire crate i used for the barn there was no getting around it. i even have to take all the time to climb over it and slide it out of the way to only leave a small section open for one of the dogs to squeeze past it. pain in the butt for me, but solid enough that there no cheating..

Ratmir is more excited about coming into the house, (never been a house dog before coming to live with us) but he can't come in the house first (he has intense space issues and moving issues) Adele has to come in the house first so she can get to her area without having to pass by Ratmir. Excited Ratmir started off crowding the door way and goodness forbid Adele get in his space near the door way. I kept a plastic baby gate at the back door way and held it in my hand, to block Ratmir so there was a path way for Adele to come in first. Now I don't need too. Cause Ratmir waits for Adele to go in first and even lays there for me to say you too Ratmir (thats just the way it works). I had to do it everything single time, several times a day for like forever, it not the first year. He's more relaxed about the space thing and moving around thing. That worked out in time of him being in this environment building relationships with the other dogs.

you on the right track.. takes time..
 

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am glad the blockage gave you a moment.. My barn door opens outward the same as your door opens inwards towards where you and the dogs are right effect (sudden pause) for using the blockage but not the best blockage for the time you need to train. have you paired it with a leash, or worked them one at a time. Can't remember if you have used reversed training outside to inside, or indoor training for the house room door ways. Indoor house door ways you take away the excitement so your totally working skills. The folded wire crate i used for the barn there was no getting around it. i even have to take all the time to climb over it and slide it out of the way to only leave a small section open for one of the dogs to squeeze past it. pain in the butt for me, but solid enough that there no cheating..

Ratmir is more excited about coming into the house, (never been a house dog before coming to live with us) but he can't come in the house first (he has intense space issues and moving issues) Adele has to come in the house first so she can get to her area without having to pass by Ratmir. Excited Ratmir started off crowding the door way and goodness forbid Adele get in his space near the door way. I kept a plastic baby gate at the back door way and held it in my hand, to block Ratmir so there was a path way for Adele to come in first. Now I don't need too. Cause Ratmir waits for Adele to go in first and even lays there for me to say you too Ratmir (thats just the way it works). I had to do it everything single time, several times a day for like forever, it not the first year. He's more relaxed about the space thing and moving around thing. That worked out in time of him being in this environment building relationships with the other dogs.

you on the right track.. takes time..
 
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