Dog Training with the Gate Exercise

January 17, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Once you have brought home your new dog or puppy, you should strongly think about enrolling in a dog/puppy training course. Not only will it give you the confidence to handle your dog/puppy effectively, but training classes are the ideal place to socialise your dog. When you’re out walking your pooch, other dog walkers may not be so keen to socialise then.

If you can’t make it to a dog training class or there is a bit of wait until the next course starts, you can try this basic exercise to instill some obedience into your dog. It is called the Gate Exercise.

Gate Exercise

Follow these steps in order. Remember to take your time and remain calm.

  1. Dog and handler approach the gate. Get close enough to the gate so that the handler can easily reach to open it.
  2. Handler to tell the dog to sit. Remember the dog must be close enough to the gate so that the lead/leash does not go tight when the handler goes through the gate. A tight lead/leash will encourage the dog to move with you.
  3. Handler to open the gate and let it swing open.
  4. Handler to tell the dog to wait, give a hand signal (most handlers use a flat hand signal) and turn towards the gate. Remind the dog to sit and wait and put one leg through the gate opening. It is necessary whilst the dog is learning what we want, to hesitate and give the command again. If needed, the handler could give a treat at this point.
  5. When the dog is settled, the handler tells the dog to wait again and moves the other leg through the gate. Again, if the dog moves, handler stops moving and commands the dog to sit again.
  6. When the dog is sitting and waiting, (it may only be for 1 or 2 seconds) handler will call the dog through the gate and praise and reward treats.
  7. Once the dog has practised sitting and waiting to come through the gate, we can then add the final element to the exercise. This would be to ask the dog to sit again when through the gate and wait whilst the handler shuts the gate.

With this exercise, it is very important to start slowly. The dog will probably get excited by the handler’s movements, but the handler needs to stay firm and calm.

You can use any gate with this exercise. It can be a garden gate or even an indoor baby gate. Make sure there is plenty of room on both sides when you practise. Getting the gate exercise under control is extremely helpful when you have visitors at the front door or when you’re getting ready to go out. The dog will respond to the commands of ‘sit’ and ‘wait’.

Good luck!

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