How to Train Your Small Dog to Stay Out of the Kitchen

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Keeping your small dog out of the kitchen, especially while you are cooking or entertaining, can be important not only for his safety but also for your sanity. Some dog owners don't want their dogs in the kitchen at all. Small dogs, especially, push boundaries because they are so little and can easily run between your feet to get what they would like. Keeping your small dog out of your kitchen is easy to train with consistency and repetition. Keep your little guy entertained in other rooms and let him know when it's appropriate to be in the kitchen, if ever, or what he can do while you are busy in the kitchen instead of being under your feet.

Defining Tasks

Keeping your small dog out of the kitchen will require you to set boundaries with him and stick to those boundaries every time you are in the kitchen. Also giving your dog permission to watch you while you're in the kitchen from a safe place will be important in keeping your small dog from becoming anxious and whining while you're in the kitchen and he's not allowed to be with you. Giving your dog rewards in the form of treats will keep him motivated to stay just outside of the kitchen. Eventually, your little guy will find something different to do as he realizes watching you from a boundary line is not nearly as fun as playing with a toy or having a treat somewhere else.

Getting Started

If you clicker train your dog for other training, be prepared to train him kitchen boundaries with a clicker and lots of treats. If possible, you may want to have another member of the household show him other things he can be doing while you're in the kitchen. If you don't ever want your little dog in the kitchen, you will need to feed him elsewhere. Try not to break the rules for his meal times but not for yours. Come to your training sessions prepared with lots of rewards and ready to redirect and repeat commands.

The Conditioning Method

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Step
1
On a leash
Your little guy probably sees you in your kitchen a lot, so in the beginning, you may want to have him on a leash during training.
Step
2
Heel
If you have taught your small dog to heel, put him on his leash walk with him around the house. Ask him to heel as you approach your kitchen. When you walk towards your kitchen with your dog on the leash, you're going to ask him to heel so he's beside you but you are not going to cross the line into the kitchen just yet.
Step
3
Walk by
If possible, walk past the entrance to your kitchen with your dog on the leash and the expectation that he is walking beside you with the 'heel' command. If he stops to pause or tries to enter the kitchen, keep walking. If your dog stays with you and doesn't pause to go into the kitchen, give him a treat as soon as you pass the entrance of your kitchen.
Step
4
Reward
Once you have passed the doorway or entrance of your kitchen or the boundary line you have created for your small dog, stop and give him some verbal praise and the treat.
Step
5
Boundary line
During this training session, keep your small dog out of the kitchen. If there is any way for you to block off this entrance into the kitchen such as the use of a baby gate, feel free to use it so your dog has a definite border he can see.
Step
6
Off-leash
After your small dog has been conditioned by being rewarded for walking past the kitchen entrance several times while on a leash, start to practice walking past the boundary line while off-leash. Walk with your dog beside you around your house and walk past your kitchen. If your dog makes it past the entrance without showing signs of wanting to go inside, reward him.
Step
7
Redirect
If your dog crosses the line to go into the kitchen while the two of you are walking around your house together not using a leash, redirect him by calling his name and then continue to walk past the entrance. If you have to redirect your small dog, do not give him a treat. Instead, repeat the walk past the kitchen again so he is conditioned to learning he will get a treat if he avoids walking inside.
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The Draw the Line Method

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Step
1
Before training
Before you begin training your little dog to stay out of your kitchen, prepare your border lines so you are consistent each time you work with your dog to stay out of the kitchen. Be sure your rules about your kitchen are clear and concise and you are consistent every day. This may mean feeding your dog outside of the kitchen and ensuring everyone in your family knows the rules.
Step
2
Border line
These borders can be defined by transition strips from your kitchen floor to another floor or you can use something such as painter's tape or masking tape on the floor to draw a boundary line while your small dog is training.
Step
3
In the kitchen
Walk into your kitchen and wait for your dog to follow you. He may or may not notice a border line of painter's tape you've placed on the floor. When he gets to that tape he will likely cross it.
Step
4
Redirect
When your dog crosses the border line you have put on the floor, redirect him immediately. Say his name use a term such as 'ah-ah' and put him back out side of the line.
Step
5
Treat
Once your small dog is on the other side of the border line, give him a treat.
Step
6
Repeat
You will need to repeat this several times. Your dog will cross the line and you will ask him to go back, pick him up and set him back over the line, or gently push him back over the line. Once he's over that line, give him a treat so he is learning he will be rewarded if he stays on that side of the line.
Step
7
Challenge
Give your small dog some challenges. Walk into the kitchen and prepare his food. Have him stay on the outside of his boundary line and give him a reward while he's there. You may need to take a little extra time preparing his food so you have time to reward him with a treat as well. Be sure you remain consistent throughout training and that your dog understands where his boundary line is located.
Recommend training method?

The Tape Border Method

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Step
1
Boundary line
For larger kitchens without smaller doorways, you may need to create a large boundary line. To do this, tape a line across the border where you’d like your small dog to stay instead of going into the kitchen.
Step
2
Tape
Using painter's tape or masking tape, have your small dog watch you tape a line into the kitchen so he begins to recognize this as his boundary line.
Step
3
Stand opposite
Stand on the opposite side of the taped line than your small dog. This taped line will not stop him from crossing, but it is a line you can show your dog when you redirect him and place him on his side of the kitchen boundary.
Step
4
Redirect
When your small dog crosses the taped line, use keywords such as ‘uh-oh’ and gently push him back over the line. Use a fun sing-song voice so he is not scared and is giving you his attention.
Step
5
Treat
Once your small dog is on the opposite side of the line, give him a treat and verbal praise.
Step
6
Test
Work in your kitchen and wait for your little guy to cross the line. When he does, repeat the steps above and give him a treat once he is on the opposite side of the line.
Step
7
Rewards
If more than a few moments pass without your small dog trying to cross the boundary line, give him a treat. Over time, this will condition him to understand this is a line he should not cross, and when he is on the outside of the kitchen, he will get treats. Reward him when you catch him being good and staying out of the kitchen.
Step
8
Practice
This will take some time, so keep practicing with consistent expectations and rewards for good behavior and not pushing his boundaries.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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