Open doors and switch off the light: How to teach your dog

Can't your dog get enough of learning new commands and basic commands? Then just teach him how to open doors or turn off the lights. With a little practice and patience it will work! This fluffy Spanish water dog can also learn to open doors - Shutterstock / aaleksander

How annoying: you just made yourself comfortable on the sofa, you notice that it is still too bright in the room. In theory, you now have to get up again and switch off the lights - but you don't feel like it after a hard day's work. This is where your four-legged friend can come into play.

Switch off the light: how it works

Your dog doesn't mind flashing again to operate the light switch. But how does he learn best? An efficient method is to work with post-its. Ideally, your four-legged friend already masters the trick of touching markings with his paw or snout - for example, if you have carried out target training with him. But be careful: think carefully about whether you really want your dog to be able to switch off the light, because the wallpaper often suffers from the claws of the animal.

If you decide to do so, the exercises can start: take a Post-it and position it directly under the light switch, so that your dog can easily touch the piece of paper with its snout. Point to it and as soon as it hits the mark with its nose, praise and reward it. Repeat this action a few times and after a while set the Post-it a little higher. It will only be more difficult for your dog if he can no longer get to the note without effort. In concrete terms, this means that he has to stand on his hind legs and look for support on the wall with his front legs.

Practice, practice, practice

If he understands that he will only get his reward if he moves up, you can go one step further and stick the colored note directly on the light switch. Again, point to the Post-it and reward your dog for touching it. If your four-legged friend accidentally presses the switch, say the respective command for it - for example "Light off!". An extensive reward is then due. Repeat the exercise over and over until your dog knows what to do even without Post-it and only by command.

Training with the dog: teamwork for the partnership

With this exercise, your dog will soon be able to open doors

If you want your dog to open doors in your home, it is best to use the "pull" command. Attach a short rope to a doorknob that your four-legged friend is supposed to take in the mouth. At the beginning you can, for example, attach your favorite toy to the loose end of the rope for motivation. Point at the rope so that your four-legged friend can take it in its mouth. If you use the "Pull!" he will quickly notice that if you pull gently downwards, the handle will give way and the door will open. With the snout, he can now easily widen the gap and slide through it, or open the door further with the rope.

If your dog wants to open doors that open outwards, the exercise works in a very similar way: In this case, too, your dog must first pull the handle down with a rope so that the door opens a crack. He should also quickly become aware of how the game works: as soon as the door is open a bit, he can enlarge it with his snout and walk through it without any problems. And do not forget: With every little success that your dog has had during training, you give him extensive praise.

By the way, the rope method is primarily used to protect your doors: Because if your four-legged friend simply jumped on the handle with his paws, he could damage the material of the door at some point.

You might also be interested in these topics for dog training:

Raising Pomeranian: Tips and Tricks

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Tricks for dogs: doing a role

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