Protecting Your Dog From The Unthinkable

I had a client make an appointment for dog training last week.  However before we could get together he sent me an email explaining that his dog got out of the door and was run over by a car.  Actually this happens more often than you can imagine.  In fact in your hometown it happens daily.

For most dog owners, one of their greatest fears is that their dog will escape through the door and run into the street where they could be hit by a car.  That’s a nightmare scenario that no one wants to have happen, yet it could happen all too easily.

What can you do to keep something so terrible from happening?  How can you keep your dog from running out the door and getting hit by a car?  Actually, there are some ways to train your dog to teach him to behave well.  You will need to work with your dog because, well, he’s a dog and he wants to get out!

Keeping Your Dog in The House

The first thing you need to focus on, and the most important thing, is to keep your dog inside.  It’s a fact that most of the dogs that get out and get hit by a car are dogs that find a way to escape to have a little fun.  It’s easy to understand how they feel.  They just want to get out and have a good time.  But it’s dangerous out there.

You can’t stop your dog from getting out by just putting out your foot when you open the door.  It takes more than that.  You have to teach your dog that the door belongs to you and they are not allowed to pass through it.  In order to teach your dog this lesson, you need to train your dog to sit and wait whenever they see you going near the door.

You’ll have to set a zone near your door that your dog won’t be allowed to pass over or around unless you give permission.  And everyone in your family will have to use the same rules with your dog.  That can be hard to enforce but it’s necessary if you want your dog to really learn to obey the rules.

Make sure that you emphasize praise and rewards with your dog.  Give it treats when it sits and waits for you to open the door.  Your goal should be to be able to open the door and step outside without your dog trying to go out with you.  If you can do that consistently, then you won’t have to worry so much when anyone else opens the door to go outside.

Leash Training and Training at Curbs

You can also protect your dog by teaching your dog to respect the leash.  A dog that is properly trained to respect the leash and understands the space they are supposed to have available to them will be safer when they are out walking with you.  If the leash fails for some reason, they will be less likely to run away.

To train your dog to respect the leash, you should never let your dog pull off ahead of you.  Don’t allow your dog to sniff things without your permission.  You should try to control the speed of the walk for at least 15 minutes before you let your dog stop to smell anything.  If you do that and then allow your dog to sniff something, stopping to sniff something can be a reward for their good behavior on the walk.

You should also insist that your dog always sit and wait when you reach curbs and corners on your walk.  Do not allow your dog to cross streets without permission.  It’s not safe to let your dog rush out into the street without waiting to see what you want him to do.

If your dog waits patiently at curbs and corners, it teaches the same lesson as learning to wait for you to open the door at home. Your dog learns that they can’t pass into the street unless you’re with them.  With enough practice, your dog should learn that he’s suppose to stop at the curb if he gets loose, instead of running wildly down the street.

Keeping Your Eye on Your Dog

No matter how careful you are, it’s still possible that your dog may get out the door.  Or, the leash could break.  That’s why it’s so very important for you to train your dog.  Training isn’t just a matter of convenience.  It’s for your dog’s protection and safety.

The moment your dog runs off down the street without any training or your dog gets loose, they learn they have no rules.  When that happens, your dog isn’t safe.  It’s only a matter of time before they encounter a car or some other danger.

It’s up to you to protect your dog and keep him safe from these dangers.  With the right training you won’t have to worry about the unthinkable happening.

Mark Mansfield
 

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