Walking Through Doors With Your Dog
As pet owners, it’s our job to keep our beloved dogs safe. One situation that can cause stress in dogs is walking through doors, especially if something scary is on the other side. Opening doors to strangers walking by or to a vet clinic can be scary. Before walking through a door, follow these steps to keep your dog safe and stress-free.
You Should Walk Through the Door First
When something distracting or scary lurks on the other side of a door, it’s vital for you to walk through the door first. This provides plenty of time for you to assess the situation before bringing your dog along with you. When dogs walk through doorways first, especially in apartment complexes, they can easily become startled when encountering strangers, other dogs or children.
Open, Look & Listen
When bringing your dog out for a walk, grab yummy treats and leash your dog before opening the door. Then, crack open the door and peek outside for any close distractions that can scare your dog. If the coast is clear, open the door a bit wider and poke your head out for any distractions approaching or leaving the area. If it’s safe, open the door, so your dog can step out and toss a few treats on the ground. This gives your dog something fun to do while you scan the area for further distractions down the road.
If a distraction approaches that scares your dog, take a step back indoors. Close the door and give your dog several yummy treats. Pairing something good, such as treats, with a scary situation positively changes your dog’s behavior. Plus, it gets your dog back indoors quickly. Wait until the coast is clear again, then head out for a nice walk.
When walking into a veterinarian’s office, look through the glass door or poke your head through the doorway to ensure no dogs are standing nearby. If a dog or person is standing nearby, ask if they could move back, so your dog can enter. Once the doorway is clear, walk quickly to the exam room.
Walking through doors before your dog has nothing to do with dominance. This is a myth. Of course, dogs should learn polite manners around doorways to prevent them from running out of open doors, but again this has nothing to do with dominance. When someone mentions dominance between dogs and humans, understand they still believe in a myth that was dispelled more than a decade ago.
When pet owners walk through doors first, they’re making sure their dogs are safe.