Dogs: A Little Bit of Training Goes a Long Way

by Melissa R. on September 27, 2009

Can I go outside...PLEASE?

Can I go outside...PLEASE?

Training your dog is hard to do. Who has time to teach their dog tricks, let alone basic obedience? Something I do to keep training in our lives is to incorporate it into daily tasks. For instance, before I give Mocca her food, I ask for a sit. Easy enough! Sometimes I have her sit in the other room, then do stay, and a come. Small things…but they add up.

One interesting bit we’ve been working on is our ritual for going outside. Mocca LOVES to go outside. This is one of her most favorite things in the world, and not only does she dash outside as quickly as possible, but she runs around barking excitedly – around the ENTIRE yard. If we’re lucky, she snags a toy on the way out the door, so her barking is a bit more muffled.

A problem we encountered with this was that in her exuberance, she was jumping up at the door, knocking me over, stepping on my feet, etc. After one particularly bad incident of her jumping up…and getting her collar snagged on the doorknob – I started initiating a sit/stay. Not just for training, but for her own safety!

I make her sit at the top of the stairs, with a firm “STAY” command while I attend to the door, and open it. It has taken many weeks, but today I was surprised that when I went to put her collar on her to go outside, she sat down quietly and waited, without me having to say one word to her! Added to that I went to open the door, and she waited patiently again, until I said “OK” and off she went. I thought at first something was wrong with her, then realized that everything was just fine, and she had just caught on to the new ritual. She still barks up a storm on her initial run around the yard, but I figure we’ll save that for some other day!

About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

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Prevent Dog Boredom: Put Your Dog to Work
December 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

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Monica S. October 1, 2009 at 8:59 am

I totally agree Melissa! Rosco has to sit still before I will let him open his crate when I get home from work & he has to stay sitting nicely in it while I walk to the door, open it & decide when he can come. He then has to sit patiently while I hook his collar to his run (we’re on a busy road, so I don’t like to let him out loose). Then, when he wants to come in, he has to sit nicely while I unhook him & give him permission. I also do the sit & wait when feeding him. Sometimes, its all the training that I have time to get in for the day, other days, there’s more. By making it routine, both Rosco & I remember to do it. πŸ™‚

Trudi Anderson October 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm

My two adopted dogs, Sasha, a red Doberman and Skipper a Boxer mix, go absolutely insane when it’s time to go flor a walk. I think I will work and their sit and stay like Monika S. does. I hope I will have 2 better behaved dogs. Trudi A.

Melissa October 2, 2009 at 8:09 am

Give it a try Trudi! It might take a little work at first, but after they get the hang of it, you’ll see they’re happier for it! Mocca is only TOO HAPPY to sit at the top of the stairs now to wait. It’s pretty cute.

Lisa October 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Melissa, Great article! As a kid my parent’s trained our little poodle/terrier mix, Snooty, to go to the back door and bark when he needed to go outside to take care of his business. He’d sit patiently at the door waiting for someone to come to his aid. One day, I brought home two companions for Snooty {for all of us *wink* }, who by this time was an elderly dog. Joining us was a 6/8 week old kitten {Pooky} & puppy {Little Orphan “Annie”}…a challenge to say the least. Amazingly, Snooty, trained them both. They followed his lead as their new “Daddy”. Specifically, with the puppy, Annie. She learned immediately to go to the back door when she needed to go outside. We were sooo happy. Training was sooo easy! {Big Grin}. There was only one thing Annie didn’t do…She never barked. She’d sit quietly & patiently waiting for someone to notice she wasn’t under foot & following you around. Thanks to Snooty he made the experience an easy & pleasant one. This practice continued until the they both passed on at ripe old ages. {I must note that Pooky was a dream too!}. We were very *blessed* with our little angels.

Ellen B. October 5, 2009 at 8:20 am

Over the weekend I “implemented” your suggestions. Kobe now sits and stays while I dish up his meals, and sits nicely when I’m getting ready to let him outside. Thanks for the simple, doable tips!

Melissa October 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Awesome! I think all our pets are happier when they know what they are supposed to do and get rewarded for it. And it’s so easy for us to do. Lisa – have you ever heard of training your dog to ring a bell when they need to go outside to go potty? I have heard of it, but never seen. Would be good for a doggie who doesnt like to vocalize (gosh, that’d be great…Mocca is oh so happy to bark!)

Jody May 10, 2010 at 8:13 am

I have a dachshund;I got him when a kennel was shutting down and He needed a home. We have had a time getting Him(Oscar) to got outside… I am going to try the bell thing.

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