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Rescue dog runs away

495 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Lillith
I have a specific dog training problem.
We recently adopted a 2 yr old Shi-Tzu/mix. The problem is that she likes to slip through the front door and go exploring. Not far, we usually can catch her 2-3 blocks away but we are worried about her getting away and getting into trouble.
The running away is confusing because she is soooo affectionate, cuddly, and comes when called inside the house. Outside, however, calling and chasing her makes her run faster. The only way to catch her is to follow at a distance and slowly catch up to her when she gets distracted by something.
We do have an enclosed courtyard for her to be in but it is a small space and bolting out the front door to explore is much more fun for her.
Is there any specific training technique to modify this behavior or do I just have to hope she grows out of it some day?
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At two years old, I don’t think she’s gonna grow out of it. What you could start doing is have her on a leash and practice having her in a ‘sit’ or ‘down’ while you open the door. If she gets up, close the door and try again. If she tries bolting, grab the leash. Also, if you don’t have a long line, I would get one and practice her recall.
Door dashing can be a major pain, not to mention dangerous. As already mentioned, working on impulse control at doorways is crucial. When you aren't working on that, blocking her access to the door with a gate or other barrier would be a good idea. Another good idea would be to teach her to stay on a mat (bed, platform, whatever) when the door is opened. This is an online class about mat training that starts October 1st. https://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/17557

Getting a long line, and working on recalls outside will help, as well.

Oh, one other thing... instead of chasing after her, try going in the opposite direction while calling her. It can get their attention enough that they'll want to find out what you are doing,
I agree with others, you will have to work on impulse control around doors. I taught my dog to wait patiently until I released him to go through the door. Have the dog on a leash/long line, just to be safe, and then start your "opening the door routine". First, you might place your hand on the doorknob. The dog will most likely move toward the door. Remove your hand from the door and step back. Once the dog can do that, you might try turning the knob. Then try opening the door just a crack. Then enough for the dog to slip through. If at any point in time the dog tries to door dash, the door closes. Finally, when the door is open and the dog is waiting, release her to go through (she's still on the leash though, so she can't run away). Then you might let her explore outside for a while (that's the reward) or go for your walk.

Most dogs seem to get it pretty quickly, but you still have to remain vigilant and keep practicing on every door that leads outside in the house. While you're working on it to get the behavior solid, you can put up baby gates to block access to the door so she never gets a chance to self-reward and door dash when someone really isn't paying attention, such as kids or if you have guests over.

Also, when you have her outside in an unfenced area, she absolutely needs to be on a leash. No exceptions. Work on recall with high-value, yummy treats, of course, but note that some dogs are simply never reliable off leash, no matter how much they love you.
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