Can dogs open doors? All dog owners know that their dogs are intelligent beings. They also can learn a lot of things if taught with patience and determination. However, some dog owners might find it difficult to teach their dogs a few basic tricks because of their breed.
Yes, dogs can open doors, but since it is not common dog behavior, you may have to teach it to them. However, some dogs are much more intuitive and will open doors by watching their humans do the action. In this case, it can also be a hazard because they will leave the house whenever you’re not watching them.
Some dogs are easy to train, so they are usually trained to be service dogs. These are usually Labradors, German shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. So when it comes to everyday human tasks such as opening the door, it is easy for these dog breeds to follow instructions.
Can Dogs Open Doors
If you have a dog who can open doors, this post will tell you all about the reasons why they do it and what you need to know about it:
What Is the Science Behind Dogs Opening Doors?
Behaviorists believe that dogs learn how to open doors because of their innate urge to please their owners. They love the attention from their masters and will do anything to make them happy. Hence, if you are teaching them how to do a specific task and providing them with positive reinforcement to complete the task, it is common dog behavior to feel motivated to do the mask more often at command.
Dogs are also known to be social creatures who love to help their owners whenever they sense the need. They take pride in being a part of their owner’s day by performing tasks.
What Are the Signs That My Dog Wants to Open Doors?
- Standing in front of the doors and tilting its head
- Scratching on the dies of the door
- Pawing at the door handle
- A wagging tail
- Pacing back and forth
- Waiting by the door
- Pawing at the door if the door is slightly ajar
How Do Dogs Open Doors?
The process that a dog will typically follow to open a door goes something like this:
- Walk up to the door
- Push the door with its paw
- Use its nose to nuzzle its way into the small opening of the door and get its whole body in
- If your door has a lever, the dog will stand and push the lever down with its paw.
- Then nudge open the door with its nose and wiggle through
How to Train My Dog to Open Doors?
Doors with levers are the easiest for dogs to open, but if you have an automated type of door, it could be a near-impossible task to teach them. This training for opening doors is essential for service dogs since they have to help their owners with mobility problems.
The trick to making your dog learn how to open doors is consistency in training. The more you encourage the behavior, the more likely they will learn how to complete the task quickly. Since it is common dog behavior to please their masters, they promptly follow ass instructions in due time.
Keep in mind that the intelligence level of different dog breeds vary, so it may take a longer time for you to teach it to your dogs than others.
Here are a few steps you can follow to train your dog to open doors:
- Start by teaching your dog the pushing action with its paws against your hand, or create a target with a sticky note on the wall. Make sure you target the area where they need to exert the pushing action.
- When your dog starts to do the pushing action on command, start rewarding the behavior with positive reinforcements.
- Change the target of the push action from the target or your hand to the door.
- If your door has a leaver-like handle, you will have to teach your dog to stand on its hind legs while doing the pushing action.
- Once this is established, do the same target training but with a pushing down motion on the handle. You can use the same sticky notes that you were using to teach the initial pushing motion.
- Remember to use commands like “door” or “open” to condition the response from the dog.
- Lastly, reward your dog every time they can successfully open the door.
Another fun way to teach your dog to open doors is by tying a rope to the door’s handle. Teach the dog to pull on the rope with its teeth until the door opens. This is a more straightforward method to teach smaller dogs since they might not reach the door handles even on their hind legs.
The Benefits of Teaching Your Dog How to Open Doors
Most dogs require stimulation to keep their brains active. When teaching them tasks like opening doors, Target training is a highly stimulating activity for them.
- A helping hand
Once your dog learns how to open doors, you can rely on them to do odd jobs like fetching the newspaper in the morning or answering the door. You can also rely on the dog to take care of simple things like going out of the room to pee or poop.
All dogs are people pleasers. Dogs love it when they can make their owners happy, so if you show happiness whenever they complete a task, the dog will be satisfied knowing that they have made their master happy.
In case of emergencies, if your dog knows how to open doors, they will know how to evacuate. They can also save the lives of their family members in case of a hazard at home.
Drawbacks of Dogs Opening Doors
The main drawback of this behavior is opening the door and running away from home. Especially if they are bored and need some stimulation to get rid of excess energy, they may run off into the streets and get into trouble.
Another drawback is that it is almost impossible to punish a dog who knows how to open doors a time out. Time outs and leaving them in isolation are effective ways to correct bad behavior. Since dogs love being around their owners, leaving them alone in a room will undoubtedly impact them and successfully correct bad behavior. However, if your dog knows how to open doors, they will most likely walk into the room where their owners are instead of realizing that they are being punished.
The best way to avoid this problem is to teach your dog to only open doors on command. So if you are not around, then without a command, they will not open the door and get into more mischief.
Why Is My Dog Adamant About Opening Doors?
If you haven’t taught your dog the trick to open doors, but they do so on their own, then it could be because they have separation anxiety. You can get a clearer idea of if your dogs have separation anxiety if your dog opens the door whenever you leave the room. They want to be near you all the time, and it could be a tell-tale sign of attachment issues.
Sometimes they could open doors because they are hungry and would like to go to the place, probably the kitchen, where the dog knows they will get food. In another scenario, the dog simply repeats opening the door because you have previously reinforced the behavior, and the dog wants to be rewarded.
If your dog taught itself to open doors, it probably means that it is very intuitive and pays attention to what you do. Your dog has a very high level of intelligence and is likely opening the doors to send s message. Sometimes it could be because they can smell food coming from the other room or the presence of another dog or person nearby. Typically, dogs open doors on their own to elicit a reward from the other side.
There are not many reasons why your dog could be opening doors, and it could be a combination of them. If this is a concern for you, you need to know what you can do to stop them from opening doors.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Opening Doors?
- The first thing is to discourage the behavior. Use negative reinforcement to make sure your dog understands that whatever they are doing is wrong and you are unhappy.
- Install dog-proof door handles to block every attempt to open the door. Your dog will eventually stop trying with many failed attempts.
What Are Some Safety Tips for Dog Owners Whose Dogs Can Open Doors?
- First and foremost, make sure that whatever lies beyond the door is safe and secure; if your door opens to the roadside, then it is probably a bad idea to teach your dog how to open the door.
- You can also install some dog-proofing items around the house to avoid unnecessary damage to the property.
- Put up small gates and barriers so that humans can navigate through them, but dogs cannot.
- Remember to lock the door behind you if you intend to keep the dog indoors for long durations.
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