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Discussion Starter #1
I have been working with my dog for quite sometime on this simple behavior. A little background to set the situation. I am the lone human in the home and my work schedule leaves my dog at home for about 11 hours. Yes, he is excited when I come home. We have a reasonable greeting routine. After I handle the short home chores and change clothes, its feeding time. Feeding routine is very calm. He sits while I prep his food and remains sitting until I place the bowl on the floor and say "OK". Now, we head out for a walk. I don't say anything. I just take the collar/leash off the hook, kneel down on one knee, he calmly approaches to place his head through the collar, walks around me, stops in front of me to attach the leash. This is when we begin to have some trouble.......

Shadow, (mini schnauzer), will be standing with his nose against the door. I say "Shadow, Back" for him to back up. I claim the door space, pause give the command "Hold", open the door. He is "holding" outside of my claimed door space. As soon as I take a step......he is out the door pulling on the leash. I step out, close the door to wait for Shadow to relax and stop the pull. Now, we continue on our way with a fairly loose leash with him by my side. He is a bit anxious because he needs to eliminate. We live on the 20th floor so an elevator ride is in the mix. You know the drill on elevator.....press the button, wait.......door opens, enter, press the button, wait.....

The only part of us exiting the building is the rush out the apartment door. Everything else is good to very good.

Shadow is about 3.5 years old. Doubt if his age makes much difference, he is still learning commands and behaviors. I have not bothered to train any tricks. I have always focused on training good behavior. His list of known commands is pretty lengthy. I figure tricks are meaningless if the dog has poor behavior.

I'd like to avoid Shadow bursting out the apartment door. There have been occasions when he has startled people. I should be able to exit the apartment before my dog.

I'm sure there is a simple item that I'm missing, I just can't find the combination to train a proper exit from the apartment.

I'm open to thoughts, tips, techniques, questions.......
 

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Teaching your dog a proper (and absolutely clear) verbal release cue will help. Right now it seems he is holding somewhat sufficiently with the hold cue, but self-releases as soon as your body moves forward. I'd change that release to using a verbal cue, such as "ok", "break" or "free". That way, the release will be totally independent of your body language.

Taking it even further, for transiting to the outdoor area I'd build a routine sequence of 'down' - 'wait' (open door / step out / dog still waiting) - 'ok' - 'here' - 'down' - 'wait' (turn your back / close and lock door) - 'ok' - 'walk with me'. If the dog breaks position before the release cue is given, or fails to properly execute any other portion of the sequence, DO NOT proceed. Simply return him to position and repeat until successful.

Use of designated mats may also be of help for the down and wait during the early stages of training. I recommend using lots of positive reinforcement (ie. food treats) to speed up and solidify the process too.
 

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I agree with what petpeeve said.

In puppy class we learned to have the dog wait at the door, human steps through and turns to face dog, who waits for release cue to be given. This is probably best trained with treats at this point so your dog stays with you and waits for the reward, rather than just bolting past you.
 

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I don't think that your dog has a poor behavior, even humans would not be able to think right and behave right if your poop is about to explode (pardon the term). It would be best to bring Fido outside the building earlier than the usual schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank folks...... Tried a different exit strategy this morning.

Did the usual morning routine with feeding, collar, leash....."Back", "Hold", open door, this is the change. I step in front of my dog facing him, give the "Stay" command with hand signal. Take one step backwards.....he tries to release. "Stay" with hand signal. Repeat, until I'm out the door. Then I have him "Hold" for a moment. Release word is "Come".

This was done without treats. Although, verbal praise and pet/scratch were generous. I don't want him to get the idea that a potty walk = treat. Afterall, he just vacuumed up 180 grams of breakfast.

I'll continue this for a few days to see how he is progressing.


Transitioning out of the building lobby is really good. We get to the outside door, he automatically stops at the threshold to "Hold" until I give the "Come" command.
Shifting the schedule to earlier would be rather difficult. We are up and about shortly after 6 am. I get home from work as quickly as workload and traffic allow. Yes, I do understand his need to eliminate is urgent.
 

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That's great progress!

For after work, you might consider taking him out to walk first, then feeding him once you get home. Our dogs go out as first priority when we get home from work. Then it's food time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the tips and suggestions. I have taken these ideas with a little adaptation for my situation and environment.

This morning's 6 am walk showed progress also. I did a little shift in the routine. We walked first, then he was fed. His push out the door was more hesitant and compliant with the end goal. I'm only giving him praise and pets for rewards, no treats.

The little twerp learns quickly. This was only lesson #2. I'll keep on the training routine. I have a feeling he will have it down pat by the weekend. Then just a matter of forming the habit.

The mini schnauzer breed keeps amazing me with their intelligence, learning ability and adaptability. Great breed.

Now, if he would just execute the "Down" command. He knows it.......just stubborn.
 

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Very easy to fix. All you are doing will work but here is another idea.

Do the door thing. Hold. Have the dog sit (if he is sitting he is staying.. so I never use the stay command.. if he gets up he broke the sit command). Do the whole step out he door then step back inside and reward the sit. Now close the door, rinse and repeat. Reward for the maintained sit. When you get that release him and then have him sit again while you are outside and close the door. Then release from the sit again and proceed with the walk.

Do this and do not always take a walk. Do it after you come back from a walk with no walk happening next.

Right now he thinks he knows what is next. Let him know that No, you DON'T know what is next. You created the problem (it is always our fault) by doing the same thing every time you go out the door so he anticipates. Give him nothing to anticipate by randomizing your behavior and rewarding his.. and NO walk happens until or unless you decide it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
3G. ah, good perspective. Didn't think about him anticipating the next actions in the routine.

Typically, I use the "Stay" command for when I am leaving the home for extended time...like going to work. He does have a good "Sit" and "Hold" commands. I should probably use those instead of "Stay". I may be creating confusion.

Ok, so a couple more adjustments to the training will be implemented tonight after work.

Thanks.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We are making progress. Unfortunately, I was ill over the weekend and out of sorts. I need to quit eating food from street vendors. The training I had planned.....just didn't have the mind set. Hard to train when your perched on the porcelain chair.

Although, progress is evident. He is not bolting out the door with strong vigor. He is more calm and looking to me for commands and cues.

MiniS are so in tune with their owners. He always amazes me. Perhaps, my mind is too simple. I just didn't expect this level of intelligence.
 
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