Door Dashing

Door dashing is a very common behavior that can have obvious dangerous consequences. The first step in stopping this behavior is to find out why your dog wants to run away in the first place.

Why Do Dogs Door Dash?

  • Many dogs become bored in their home environment and are stimulated by the opportunity and excitement they feel when they make their escape.
  • Dogs that don’t get a lot of opportunity to go outside may door-dash to get a taste of freedom, while others with high prey drive and a deep-rooted instinct to run and chase are driven by their desire to hunt.
  • Most domestic dogs live in a sensory deprived environment, so the promise of fun and excitement outside the home is too much for them to ignore – escaping makes them feel good.

How to Stop Your Dog From Door-Dashing

  • Start by teaching valuable impulse control. Dogs are born with little self-control and it is up to us to teach them ‘manners’ so they can live more successfully in a domestic environment.
  • Teach your dog to ‘stay‘ by putting your hand up and holding it still until you give the signal that it is ok to move, followed by a food or toy reward for complying.
  • Once you have your dog’s focus, gradually lengthen the time that your hand is still until your dog can stay in place for a minute.
  • Ask him to stay and take a step back. If he breaks his stay, lure him back to his original waiting place and repeat the exercise.
  • Repeat until you can walk about ten feet away from him without him following you. You are now ready to move to the door.
  • Repeat the exercise by the front door with your dog staying a good distance away from the door.
  • Put your hand on the door and rattle the door handle. This is a physical and auditory cue that the door is about to be opened, which might trigger your dog to move towards the door. Lure your dog back to his place until you can rattle the door handle without him moving.
  • For each exercise, go back and treat him for staying in one place. This means you are continually reinforcing him for staying still.
  • If your dog is complying, then you can move onto the next level. Open the door a tiny crack, shut it again and go back to your dog to reinforce the stay with a treat. Continue until you have the door wide open with your dog staying still.
  • During this training process your dog will be problem solving – working out what he has to do to get a reward.
  • The next stage is to add triggers that signal someone is at the door and a door dashing opportunity is imminent. Ring the doorbell yourself or having a family member outside do it for you. It is one thing for your dog to sit and wait by a door during a calm training session, but quite another to use self-control after the doorbell has rung.
  • Be patient because your dog is likely to react to the trigger of the bell. Calmly lead him back to his place and repeat until he no longer moves when he hears the bell. Open the door to reveal that no one is outside.
  • Repeat the exercise with family members coming through the door, guests and then strangers, as long as your dog is sociable and safe around new people.
  • This teaching exercise might take time. Don’t rush it and be patient, because you will see success. Remember that every dog is unique and learns at a different pace.

Duke 9-29-14 001Featured Dog: Duke

16 month old male pit bull terrier. Very gentle and friendly. Unusual brown/black/brindle coloration. golden eyes. Loves to play with toys does great on a leash.

Additional Dogs

Skipper Male 4-5 month old pallilion/Chihuahua Brindle color Shy but friendly.

Vito 10-11-14 001Featured Cat: Vito

Vito is a very handsome boy who is anxious to find his forever home. He loves to follow you around the room so he can be petted and loved. Large cat with good manners. The  people that work here were so sure that my owner would be coming to take me home. Now since no one has come to find me, I guess that we can say that they will not be coming after all. I wish that I could tell everyone how I came to be in this predicament, but no one seems to understand. I absolutely adore people and getting lots of attention. Why don’t you come to meet me today?

All animals will be spayed or neutered prior to leaving shelter and receive 1 year rabies vaccination and city license. Ages are approximated.
The City of Mesquite Animal Shelter located at 795 Hardy Way is open for adoptions from 11am until 1 pm, Monday through Saturday, Sunday 1pm -3pm. Please call 702-346-7415 during these hours to speak to the front desk. Animal Control may be reached by phone or voicemail at 702-346-5268

The animals submitted to the media may have changes so please visit our Petfinder website for a current listing and more detailed information on the animals.