Posted by: Jessica | December 30, 2009

Teaching Physical Boundaries

One of the things I’m teaching Reed as basic manners is that he is not allowed in the kitchen. (It’s easier to teach the dog never to come in than to teach the man to put away food.) Since Reed is crated when we’re not around, we don’t have to worry about him getting into anything while we’re gone, but I think with enough proofing, some dogs could learn the rule even when the humans are away.

I started this from the day Reed came home, but I have also had success using this method with adult dogs who had previously been in the kitchen.

Whenever I walk into the kitchen, I would turn around at the threshold and use my body to block Reed from following me. I would have him sit, and reward that. I would then slowly walk into the kitchen. If he stayed, he got a treat tossed to him. If he tried to follow, I used my No-Reward-Marker (eh eh) and used my body to move him out. By this I mean using my body posture and language to invade his space. Most dogs respond well to body blocking. If your dog does not, you may need to use a leash to bring them out of the area.

Once Reed got the idea that he wasn’t allowed to follow us in, he started just sitting at the threshold on his own. That is great! Reward that often so it becomes a habit. I put a bag of treats in the kitchen and every few minutes I am in there, as long as he is not trying to come in, he gets a treat tossed out into the living room. Try using dry dog food as the treat here, since you’ll be using a LOT.

Every now and then he follows us, or sees something a little too tempting in there. If he starts crossing the line, he gets the “eh-eh!” IF he corrects himself and leaves the kitchen, he gets a treat. If not, I bring him out and make him sit. Mostly he’s been doing great, so I make sure to reward EVERY time he doesn’t come in.

Our next step will be proofing this respect for the threshold with food left on the counter, as he gets older and bigger.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: