How to teach your dog to open and close a door?


Opening and closing a door: this is an order that does not count among the teachingsfundamentals dog training. However, dogs are curious about everything and love to explore the range of possibilities with their master. In addition to strengthening the bond between the two partners, this little trick can make many services… How to proceed ? Our advices.

Why teach your dog to open and close a door?

Your dog scratch at the door when he wants to go into the garden and moans to come back inside. Do you have your arms full when you come back from shopping and you couldn’t refuse a helping hand? Dogs are intelligent beings and always ready to learn new tricks that allow them to share moments playful with their master. Accompanied in a gentle and progressive way, they will know how to perfectly control the opening and closing of a door. However, beware of the other side of the coin: if you store food in a cupboard, your pooch may use it alone or if your home gives direct access to the street, it may come into danger. Is everything secure at your place? Then this trick will be fun to teach him.

Teach your dog to open a door with a cloth

With this method, you will need a cloth or tea towel and appetizing treats to motivate your animal (delicacies other than its usual croquettes: Knackis sausages cut into slices, pieces of cheese…). The steps to be continued :

  • Amuse your dog with the tea towel, shake it so that it catches it;
  • When he understands the game, attach the tea towel to a doorknob easily accessible (low element of a kitchen cupboard for example, or drawer at nose height);
  • Show him the tea towel, shake it if necessary to maintain his interest;
  • The goal is to encourage him to grab the fabric with his mouth. Praise him as soon as he grabs it and give him the treat;
  • Once this action has been acquired, proceed to second step :
  • Pull on the cloth, showing that the pull opens the door;
  • When he bites into the fabric, reward him only when the door moves;
  • Immediately link the action to a simple command, such as “open” or “open the door”;
  • Repeat the training until the order is completely integrated.

Teach your dog to close a door with the muzzle

For this training, you must first teach your dog to touch a target such as a post-it with its muzzle. For it :

  • Hold the post-it with your fingertips and place it in front of your dog;
  • As soon as he sniffs the piece of paper, praise him with a caress and a treat;
  • Once this action has been acquired, proceed to second step :
  • Stick the target on an open door;
  • Encourage your pooch to touch the post-it with his muzzle and reward him when he does. If necessary, push the door slightly so that it closes;
  • Immediately associate the formula “close” or “close the door” when he performs the trick (even with your help);
  • Start training again;
  • Once your dog has integrated the order, remove the target and only use the verbal command.

Teach your dog to close a door with the paw

If you prefer, you can teach your dog to close the door with his paw. In this case, take the proposed exercise with the muzzle and adapt it:

  • Hold the post-it in your hand and congratulate your pooch when he touches it with the paw;
  • If necessary, help him a little by taking his paw with your other hand. Reward him;
  • When he has understood the game of the paw, place the post-it on an open door;
  • When your dog touches the paper, gently press down on his paw so that he understands the mechanism closing;
  • Say “close” at the same time, immediately offer him a treat and praise him.
  • Resume the exercise by removing the post-it.

Teach your dog to close a door using a bait

Instead of the post-it, you can educate your companion with a method of baiting him:

  • Place a treat in your hand and show it to your dog;
  • Make a fist and point it at the open closet door;
  • Put your fist on the other side of the door to encourage your pet to push it instinctively ;
  • As soon as he touches and pushes it, say “firm”, give the treat and congratulate him warmly;
  • Repeat the operation several times until the order is fully acquired.

Start training with a small door

Confronting your dog straight away at a large door increases the difficulty and lengthens the learning time. This is why it is better to start with a small door located at the height of his head. When he has mastered the exercise, you can move on to large doors. To be successful in this trick, you will need to arm yourself with patience and understanding as this command is not among the easiest to teach. Training should always be done within the framework of a positive reinforcement, using congratulations and treats. Punishments are to be banned. To achieve better results, you will need to repeat the sessions at a rate of 10 to 15 minutes maximum per day so as not to tire your hairball and discourage it.

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