I have two dogs, one more well-behaved than the other.

Both of them love to run out of the house at any available opportunity - e.g. someone not paying attention while walking through the front door, or if the porch sliding door is even a crack open, they can nose it open wide enough to get through.

If this happens, they will run at full pelt around the housing estate, and probably to the nearest house with a dog in a neighbour's window which will trigger a major barking fight between them, leaving me with no choice but to go chasing after them. If they see me coming when barking at a neighbour, they'll run off again.

One of them is better at coming when called than the other, so I'm not too worried about him as an individual, but even he will not come if he sees the other running off - presumably that's more fun.

It's getting embarrassing now, every now and again to be running / cycling around the estate after the dogs as they bother the neighbours.

I've tried tying a rope to the lead of the less behaved guy, and tying the other end somewhere inside the house. This way he could run out if he could but he can't get too far so I can admonish / reward him depending on whether he tries to run away or he stays put. However, while he gets the hang of this after a while, he behaves differently when the rope isn't tied and goes back to his old ways.

We've also discussed just letting him run off and he'll eventually come back by himself. However, the ruckus he causes at whatever neighbour's house he stops at, as well as the fact that he doesn't always get on with other dogs while out on walks (and may get in fights with other dogs on the leads of walkers) makes this a no-go.

The obvious answer is to keep the front door closed, but with people calling and kids coming and going, and us having to sometimes bring things in and out of the house, and the fact they're always looking for an opportunity to run whenever anything is happening near the front door, slips are going to happen.

Are there other ways to train them not to run off on us?

(Note: we take them on plenty of walks, and they will sometimes do this soon after even a long walk - so I don't think it's simply a matter of "too much energy")

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    Related: How do I teach my dog to obey commands outside?
    – Elmy
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 5:05
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    Only to think about: Walks are not the same as walks ;) If your dog comes home and is happy to have a rest, then it was a real walk :) Only walking beneath you is not a task for a dog, but sniffing, searching, running and so on would be. Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


I'm not a dog trainer but I do believe it begins with teaching your dog basic commands. Sit, stay, down, stop, come or here. I have found that "stop" has possibly saved my dog's life. He has bolted. He responded to "stop." Try teaching your dogs these. Once they start learning, try having them go through this routine while someone opens the door. Eventually, you will also have to teach your family members to use these commands before opening the door. Don't forget to reward your dog as he learns. Let me know if these tips helps.

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