How to Train Your Dog to Close a Door

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Chores

Introduction

It’s winter, you’ve sat yourself down in your comfiest chair after a long hard day, and wrapped yourself in a blanket with your furry friend nestled at your feet. However, a breeze begins to creep in and you realize you’ve forgotten to shut that pesky door again! You can’t bear to drag yourself up, aching from a long tiring day. Well, fear not, because one command of “close” sees your four-legged friend up on all four paws and gently shutting the door for you, before arriving right back by those tired feet of yours. Would you like this simple solution to a common everyday problem, and to wow guests with a double act in which you open the door for them, and your fluffy counterpart closes it behind them? Then read on for an easy step by step process, with both practical applications and that bowow factor.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your furry friend to close doors can be simply a fun little trick; however, it also has many practical uses. For example, you could be carrying in heavy shopping bags, have toddlers in your arms, or you could have a disability or injury that makes it difficult, in which case, having your fluffy pal close the door behind you would be very useful. Although most puppers will pick up the trick well, and in time it will become a learned behavior, there are a few stages to it, which can make things a little tricky. Don’t get disheartened if they don’t pick it up right away-- persistence, along with making it fun, are key. This one is for fully grown pooches only, as they’ll need to be big and strong enough to push that door shut with their paws or cute little noses, according to pupper preference of course.

Getting Started

Tasty treats are a prerequisite. In order to keep your doggy interested they’ll need some delicious motivation, so grab a bag of their favorite treats or cook some boneless chicken and cut it into bite-size pieces. Post-it notes or similar materials that can be stuck to the desired door are also a must. An empty room with a lightweight or easy-to-close door, to begin with, would be ideal. A can-do attitude is a necessity, as this trick can take a little bit of time. Try to practice it daily, and don’t get frustrated. If you stick with it, it’s sure to be a fun bonding experience for both of you. Now that’s everything you need to begin, let’s move on to our first door closing method.

The Post-it Nose Method

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Post-it Nose method for Close a Door
Step
1
Introduce the post-it note
In a quiet, calm environment, produce the post-it note or a similar material if preferred. For example, a ruler can also be used.
Step
2
Interaction with the post-it note
Hold out the desired material in front of your furry friend. When your dog starts to look interested and sniffs the item, make a huge fuss of them and give him one of those tasty treats.
Step
3
Repetition is key
Repeat this step until your dog goes straight to the desired item.
Step
4
Stick the post-it note to the door
Now it’s time to put the post-it note on the door--make sure it’s at your fluffy friend’s height! Tap the target and encourage him to nose it again, praising him even harder than before and showering him with treats.
Step
5
Closing the door
How hard your doggy pushes will vary with each nose-to-door touch. Make sure you praise him even harder than before when he gives the door a really good push--this will encourage him to keep pushing harder and eventually the door will shut.
Step
6
Introduce a command
Now when he pushes hard and closes the door, introduce whatever command you like, but try to keep it short and snappy so that you don’t confuse your doggo. For example, phrases like ‘door’, ‘shut’, ‘close’ and ‘door (insert doggy’s name)’ are good. A positive but authoritative tone is always important, as well as being as clear as possible.
Step
7
Remove the post-it note
Once your furry friend is responding well to your command, you can remove the post-it note entirely, using only praise and treats to get him to close that door.
Step
8
Try another door
To ensure that your furry pal gets that it’s not only that door that you want him to be able to close, try the trick on a variety of doors to see how he gets on.
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The Pawing It Shut Method

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Pawing It Shut method for Close a Door
Step
1
Choose the right door
In order for your pupper to close the door with his paws, you’ll need to choose a lightweight door such as a cabinet door.
Step
2
Use the 'give paw' command
Get close to the door and place a high reward treat such as a chicken piece or hot dog slice in your hand with a closed fist, then touch the door with your fist. Call your furry friend over and get him to ‘give paw’ or ‘shake’ depending on which version you’ve taught him, until his paw touches your fist and the door. When he does this, give him lots of praise and that well-deserved treat.
Step
3
Move your hand away
Perform exactly the same steps as before, but this time before your dog’s paw touches your hand, move it away so he only touches the door, and not your hand. Keep repeating this and praise him when he swipes at the door.
Step
4
Open the door
Open up the door, a small amount to start with and then increase when he starts to get the hang of closing it with his paw. Tapping the door can also encourage him to swipe at the door once he’s started to get the hang of it.
Step
5
Introduce a command
Short commands are useful here. However, the point at which you introduce the command is important. Just as your pupper picks up his paw to close the door say the command in a clear, friendly, authoritative tone. Keep doing this until you no longer need to tap the door, but simply have to give the command.
Step
6
Different doors and from a distance
Now it’s time to try heavier doors and instead of being close to your pooch, try and give the command from a distance and see if he responds. Bearing in mind that it’s important to slowly take a step away, saying the command each time more distance is created.
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The Clicker Method

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Clicker method for Close a Door
Step
1
Get ready
Grab the treats and choose a lightweight door, such as a cabinet door.
Step
2
Tap the door
Get your furry pal to pay attention to the door by giving it a tap or using a touch stick if you have one. Every time your dog touches the door and moves it, give him a click and a treat.
Step
3
Pushing the door closed
Once he’s gotten the hang of pushing the door, simply wait until he pushes the door all the way closed. When this happens, give him lots of treats and a big click to show him how well he’s done!
Step
4
Keep on repeating
Once he keeps pushing the door closed and has really gotten the hang of closing the door every time, again show him how much of a good boy he’s been by clicking and giving treats liberally.
Step
5
Introduce the command
Now that he closes the door every time you tap or use your touch stick, use a command of your choice. Keep it simple, ‘close’ and ‘shut’ are good choices.
Step
6
Stop tapping and start commanding
Now that he associates your voice with the command, you can stop the tapping. Just say your command and your furry friend should close the door. Keep repeating with only the voice command until he closes the door every time.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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