“Quick!! Shut the door don’t let the dog out!” Have you said this or heard someone yell this in a panic ? I have. In fact I was the one who said it to my chocolate Labrador, Max. He was very excitable to say the least. The moment anyone rang the doorbell he was right there trying to charge his 90lb way into our guests. Back then I didn’t train him to wait at the door, I trained him instead to charge outside, instead of at our guests. We lived on two acres at the end of street, and Max, had rocket fast recall. Sometimes I would manage the situation by escorting him to the basement to calm down.

Today, things are different. I have trained Sadie to back away from the door. She is trained to sit on the carpet near the door and wait, even if the door is wide open and people are coming and going. This didn’t happen overnight, rather it took tons of practice under many different circumstances until she generalized the idea that she should not charge any door. It was worth it though. And as a back up, if she does dash outside, she also had a rocket fast recall.

Training a back-up behavior is incredibly valuable if dog chooses not to comply with a behavior you are sure your dog knows. If you ask your dog to sit and she doesn’t, try asking her to lay down, or shake, or whatever other behavior you trained. And then go back and train the first one again. Its probably that under the new circumstance your dog temporarily forgot what he knew, after all is he only a dog.