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How to teach my dog to close a door?

Author: Marièke

You enjoy teaching your dog new tricks and would like to teach him how to close a door? Find out how.

Why teach your dog to close a door?

Generally speaking, a dog likes to learn new tricks. The time you spend together will amuse him and develop the complicity you share. It’s like a game for him!

Beyond this simple distraction, some tricks can be practical in everyday life. And knowing how to close a door is one of them. Let’s say you have your arms full: you’ll appreciate that your dog can shut the door behind you!

How do you teach your dog a trick?

Teaching your dog a trick, whatever it is, requires a few training notions:

  • Repetition: three 5-minute sessions are better than one 15-minute session. Your dog has limited ability to concentrate (even more so if he’s a puppy!): if you feel he’s losing interest, it’s better to stop than to persist.
  • Patience: don’t practice a session if you’re tired or annoyed. A dog is a real sponge: he may feel your nervousness and also become stressed…
  • Positivity! Encourage your dog! Learning tricks is also a time for play and fun. Your dog needs to feel this energy, it will motivate him and accelerate his learning.
  • Treats: Not all dogs have the same appetite, some will be fond of small kibbles, others of ham… find the treat that interests your dog enough for him to do his tricks!

Method for teaching your dog to close a door

Now let’s find out how to teach your dog to close a door.

Prerequisite

Before you start teaching your dog, it is necessary that he knows his first name and how to sit. These are two concepts that he already needs to master in order to facilitate this learning process.

Step One

The first step is to teach your dog to learn how to close a small door – there’s no point in making him fail from the beginning with a door that’s too heavy for him!

For example, start with a cupboard door in your kitchen or bathroom. Open the door and get your dog to sit a few centimetres away from it. Take a treat in your hand and get him to close the door unintentionally with his nose. When this happens, say the command “XX, close the door” or “XX, close” and reward him.

Repeat the operation several times. Each time, open the door and get your dog to sit down. He needs to associate order with gesture. Little by little, you can open the door more and more and remove the treat, replacing it with encouragement. Your dog should quickly understand that he has to close the door to be praised and get a treat.

Step Two

Once your dog seems to have acquired this automatism, go to the next step: make him close a larger door. To do this, use a not too heavy door in your home.

Follow the same steps as above:

  1. Have your dog sit down and close the door unintentionally.
  2. Open the door more and more.
  3. Gradually remove the treat.

Third step

Depending on your dog’s size and strength, you can finally teach him to shut your front door. Again, you’ll need to use the same tricks.

Be careful with this last step though: depending on the weight of your door, not all dog sizes will be able to do it 🙂

As for any dog training, teaching your dog to close a door requires patience, repetition and treats!

So, ready to try?

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