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Threshold Safety Training

As with any form of training consistency is key, and threshold training is no different. We are talking the door threshold safety training. This training teaches your dog not to go though doors or at least certain doors without you telling them to or lacking certain situational contexts.

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This is an important step in their training for safety reasons. You don’t want your dog running out doors when you are not ready or before you have checked out side. In our case moose is the main concern but for those in the city, traffic is a major concern.

Now this doesn’t just apply to your house doors, this should also apply to your truck/car doors and kennels. If you open your car door in a parking lot you don’t want your dog jumping out randomly in paring lots and this is the same reasoning for the kennel. This also i necessary if you have multiple dogs in a house that cant always be out at the same time or in the same room. Whether that is for aggression issues or simply because one of them is in season.

This is one of the simpler behaviors to work with your dog on and you want to start by making sure that your dog under stands making and maintaining eye contact with you.

Starting out you want to make sure that you have the dog on a leash. If you have decided to use a trining collar such as a prong collar you will want the leash attached to that.

At this point you need to decide if you want your dog to sit or stand or if you care, just make sure if you decide on one be consistent with it.

First You will crack open the door or approach the threshold you will be training on, As you should be crate training your dog, their crate door is a great place to start. (Keep in mind if you are using a good quality crate you wont be able to use their leash at this point) Now if your dog tries to push their way out or moves toward the door you will close the door not letting them out, if are using a leash and collar at this time pull back on the collar keeping them from exiting as you close the door and then you will reset by getting them back into their position and then oping the door again. Then you repeat this step until they don’t try to go out the door any more.

Once you have them at the point where they dont try to push out you will start opening the door more and more until At some point they will likely try again to go out the door with you telling them too at which point you will close the door again. Continue to open the door more and more a closing it when they try to escape until you get the door open to the point you want them to be able to leave.

Eventually you will get the door all the way open and your dog will not try to go out. At this point you want them to look up at you and make eye contact before getting the command to leave. So you will now give them the command usually their name then once they make eye contact with you give their command to go through. This can be what ever you want but “go ahead” or “okay” are common choices.

Consistency is key and you need to do this every time your dog comes to a threshold you want them to pause at. For most the minimum for this should be any exterior door of your house or building, your apartmentĀ  door if you live in an apartment, your car doors, and their kennel door.

Now some of you will have specific situations you want your dog to go through the door without you telling them too. Whether its for protection or service K9sĀ  or your pet dog, you will want to wait and only start training them on these situations after they are pausing at the door fully opened and waiting for you to let them through.

Some examples of these situations could be….

* K9 Officers wanting their dog to jump out to apprehend a suspect. This can be trained using either a door popper or the officer opening the door. To train this you will want to build the situational context for the dog by incorporating this into your apprehension training scenarios.

* A personal protection K9 who you want to jump out and protect you, in which case the same thing applies as the K9 Officer and you should incorporate this into their protection training scenarios.

* A service or medical alert dog that you want them to go through the door and do their job. You will incorporate this into their training on what ever they are trained. For instance if a person faints and the dog is trained to run over and protect them/alert someone to help you want them to do this even if their human is out side and they are not.

You may have your own situations where you want them to know they can go out with out you telling them to, you just need to build a mock scenario around that situation and allow them to go out during it to build that context for them so they learn that its ok for them to leave under those circumstances and not under others.

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