How to Train Your Dog to Stay Out of the Street

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Streets can be a hazardous place for your dog to roam and play. Too many dogs are hit and killed by playing in the streets every day. If you live in a busy neighborhood or even in a rural area with a road nearby, you need to train your dog to stay away from the street. Many dogs in neighborhoods are required to be on leashes depending on municipality rules. Some communities feel safe enough that children can play ball or ride bikes in the streets. Dogs, on the other hand, don't always know when it is safe to run out and when it is not. So teaching your dog to stay out of the street altogether can keep him close to your family if they are playing a little game in the street while you're watching safely nearby. While on walks, even while leashed, you will want your dog to understand the dangers and the rules around streets.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your dog to stay away from and out of the street is much like teaching your dog boundaries. However, with streets, it is not something as easy as teaching your dog to stay out of your kitchen or out of your bedroom. Those rooms have clear and defined entryways that you can block off or mark off. Streets, however, cannot be blocked off from your dog unless you fence in your property. Training this kind of boundary and teaching your dog to stay out of streets is going to require positive reinforcement for good choices and repetition with small training sessions. Keep these sessions short to maintain focus with your dog so he does not become distracted while outside. 

Getting Started

Teaching your dog boundary training when it comes to staying out of the street is going to require positive reinforcement, patience, a leash, and lots of treats. Be sure you are watching your dog very closely while you are teaching him to stay out of the street because as he is learning, he may be curious and go to the street. Keep these sessions short and keep his exposure to a busy road short as well.

The On a Leash Method

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Step
1
Walk together
Walk your dog around your property on his leash, taking him close to the street but not crossing into the street.
Step
2
Stop
When you get close to the street, stop. Talk to your dog in a gentle voice and tell him he's a good boy.
Step
3
Reward
Give your dog a reward for stopping with you and not bolting forward into the street. Even if he's on a tight leash, this will encourage him not to go closer to the street each time he's near.
Step
4
Repeat
Continue to walk various paths along your property repeating the steps above. When you get close to the street, be sure you are rewarding your dog for good behavior every so often as he stays out of the road. This will help teach him he is rewarded when he is safe and where to stop to continue to remain safe.
Step
5
Practice
Practice these steps with your dog safely on a leash for several weeks; at least until your dog does not lurch forward at all or show any interest in the street.
Step
6
Off-leash
If your dog is allowed to be off-leash on your property near the road, you can begin to take him off the leash once he understands his boundaries.
Step
7
Redirect
If your dog gets too close to the road on leash or off-leash, redirect him and reward him for making the right choice.
Step
8
Close watch
Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog each time he is outside and near the road. An unsupervised dog, even a trained dog, could find himself in trouble if he is too close to a street.
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The Curb Click Method

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Step
1
Fast paced click
Step off the curb and take a step faster than your dog can take a step down. Very quickly click your clicker and run back and give your dog a treat before he can step off the curb.
Step
2
Repeat
Continue stepping off the curb faster than your dog can get off the curb and click while you're in the street, running back and offering a treat as long as your dog stays on the curb. This is a very quick movement.
Step
3
Redirect
If your dog steps off the curb, run back to the curb and redirect. There is no reason to dish out a consequence, just don't reward.
Step
4
Practice
Repeat these steps, practicing stepping off the curb leaving your dog on the side of the street and very quickly clicking and rewarding for your dog's good behavior of staying on the curb and not stepping into the street.
Step
5
Come
Give your dog the 'come' command and let him step with you when it is okay to step off the curb.
Step
6
Repeat steps above
Mix having your dog stay curbside and the command 'come' with your dog on the leash. Make the leash loose so you can step out into the street without your dog following you. Be sure to take a few steps out into the street quickly turn around click. Come back and reward your dog for staying on the curb.
Step
7
Challenge
As your dog gets used to staying on the curb and getting rewards for doing so, challenge your dog by trying to pull the leash and pull him off the curb. If he has learned to the command 'come' and to wait until he hears the command, he should stay on the curb.
Step
8
Redirect
If your dog steps off the curb because you're pulling on his leash just redirect him without the reward of a treat and start over back on the curb. If he does this consistently you may need to repeat the steps above so that he remembers he is not supposed to step off the curb without the command 'come.'
Step
9
Click and treat
Be sure to click and treat every time your dog obeys your command, staying on the curb until you return to him, and coming off the curb when you say the word 'come.'
Step
10
Continue
This kind of boundary training will take practice. Be sure to continue working on this behavior to keep your dog safe and create an invisible border so he understands he is not allowed to step foot into the street even if you are out there first unless he has a command.
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The Stop and Wait Method

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Step
1
Stop at curb
Take your dog for a walk, edging the street side. When you get to the curb, stop. This will teach your dog when he reaches this type of boundary he also needs to stop.
Step
2
Sit
Have your dog sit and reward him for following your command.
Step
3
Continue practice
Before moving forward to other steps, practice this several times so he understands the curb is a stopping place for him. Each time he sees a curb, a sidewalk, or a grassy area turn into a street, it will be a boundary line for him to stop and sit.
Step
4
Step off
Once the two of you have practiced walking to a curb, stopping, and sitting several times, begin to take a step off of the curb. Your dog should be in a sitting position so you have a moment to step off before he leaves off with you. Step off the curb, step back, and give him a treat.
Step
5
Reward
When you step back onto the curb after taking one step off the curb and into the street, you gave him a treat and positive praise as a reward. This will begin to teach your dog that he needs to wait until he's invited into the street before he steps off the curb as well and, as long as he waits, he will be rewarded with positive reinforcement and a treat.
Step
6
Command
You can pat your leg to tell your dog to come or you can use a command to let him know it's safe to come off the curb.
Step
7
Redirect
If your dog steps into the street without your invitation, redirect him back to the curb and stand with him. Avoid giving him a treat so you are not rewarding him for an incorrect choice.
Step
8
Practice
Continue to practice these steps, stopping at curbside and asking your dog to sit until he sits automatically each time he reaches the curbside. Continue to use the command you have chosen to tell your dog it's okay for him to step off the curb and follow you or heel next to you.
Step
9
Consistency
Be consistent in your training and always stop at curbsides. Wait for your dog to sit and await command before stepping off into the street. This teaches him he will always have to stop, pause, sit, and wait for an invitation to enter to the road.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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