Skip to main content
PBS logo

Discussion Forums - Pets/Animals

Topic: Any suggestions for stopping a dog that will bolt out the door if they find

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Generic Profile avatar
Subject: Any suggestions for stopping a dog that will bolt out the door if they find
Date Posted: 4/23/2012 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2006
Posts: 436
Back To Top



This post isn't so much for me as it's for my sister. She has a boxer-lab mix. Big dog, about 60 or 70 lbs. The dog is a sweetie, but her one problem is that if she sees the front door open, she will bulldoze anyone aside to get out. And my sister has young kids who sometime sopen the door for their friends, thus allowing th edog to make a break for freedom.


The family isn't able to build a gate or anything to keep the dog on the property. It's just not a situation that would work. They have a babygate to act as a security, but again, the dog will see that it's open and jam outside.


oes anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this? The dog is about 10 now, so my sister and family are dubious that dog school/obedience school would work for her at this late date.


Any thoughts? I'd appreciate them!

Natalie B.

okbye avatar
Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 5/3/2012 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

What we used to do back in the day was put the dog on a long leash in the house. Someone opens the door. The dog makes a run for it and you shout No! as it nears the door and hold the leash taut so the dog hits the end of it with a bit of a jerk. I would use a choke chain, it is not going to hurt a dog with a neck the size of a Boxer and you're not gonna jerk so hard the dog goes flying, just make sure he feels it. He's not a young dog either so you don't want to hurt him. The most effective thing is to hold the leash firmly with just enough slack that the dog jerks himself back when he hits the end of the leash which should be right before reaching the doorway. If you do use a regular collar you have to be sure it won't come off over the dog's head so he doesn't back out of it and get away. It shouldn't take more than once or twice before he quits bolting, he will still try to go out though so you have to keep doing it until he learns the NO means he has to stop and sit down inside the house. You are going to praise the dog for not going out the door after the first couple times, only jerk if he tries to run and you don't have to jerk that hard. Just enough to accentuate the no which is the most important part. If you can control him verbally that's most of the battle won. Another reason a choke chain is good is when you jerk it a little it makes noise and that noise will become associated with the jerk and hearing that clink works just as well as jerking it. Once he's learned not to run anyone over to get out he needs to be taught to sit and stay while the door is open. My dog (also a Boxer) doesn't bolt but he will try to kill anyone who comes to the door so I had to establish a no zone that he is not allowed to go into around the door when there's someone there. If I say "get back" he knows to get out of the door zone. One good method is to pick a spot for him, if there's somewhere near by that he usually lays or where his bed or crate can be placed that's perfect but just a spot on the floor will work too. You can teach him that he has to go to his spot and stay whenever anyone opens the door. "Go to your spot" is a handy thing anyway. 

If he's been doing this all of his 10 years it may not be possible to break him of it, it will be difficult anyway. He really needs some basic obedience to go along with the door training just so he can be controlled. Any dog that you can get to sit and stay can be made to do anything. I should also add that dogs aren't stupid. They know when you have them on a leash and when you don't so the hard part is making them listen as well off the leash as on. That's why he needs a reliable sit/stay. 

Last Edited on: 5/3/12 9:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1