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The Escape Artist

doorboundaryIs your dog an escape artist?  The doorbell rings, you open the door, out goes the dog and the chase begins.  Chasing the dog however is only intensifying the dog’s urge to run.  This is a wonderful game to her and with you in hot pursuit, it’s only reinforcing her desire to sprint.  If your canine likes to sneak out the door when visitors arrive, and you’re concerned about her safety, put up a barrier like a baby gate so her access to the door is limited.  In the event she pulls a Houdini on you and still manages to sneak by and get out, keep a squeaky toy and some treats by the door so you can grab them in a hurry.  When the dog runs out, squeak the toy in an attempt to get the dog’s attention.  Once you have her interest, run in the opposite direction back towards your home squeaking the toy all the way.  This will hopefully prompt the dog to chase you instead of running towards the road or anything else.  Once you’ve managed to get a hold of your pup, do not scold her for running out the door.  She’ll only equate the punishment with coming back to you, not with getting out of the house.  Hold on to her collar, tell her to “come here,” “sit,” and reward with a tasty treat.  This will reinforce the commands and strengthen the likelihood that she’ll return to you quickly if she ever sneaks out again.  To prevent her from slipping out the door in the future, a training program should be established to make her “sit” and “wait” at all doors until she’s given permission to proceed any further.  Everyone in the household should be involved in this process so the dog obeys all.  With practice, this should avert the dog from trying to escape and you’re pulling a hamstring.

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