Back to Behaviour


By Peter Brown

Professional Dog Trainer, Alpha Paws

To a dog bolting is FREEDOM! Domestic dogs, unlike their predecessors, spend much of their time at home with us with limited chance to explore the outdoors.

Bolting can be completely eliminated with a steady routine of play, work, and rest.

Bolting is generally caused from boredom and a lack of exercise and mental stimulation. As a result, many dogs, when they spot an opening, will immediately dash right through it as fast as lightening to get through to the outside. This behaviour is especially dangerous when coupled with roads and traffic!

Bolting can be completely eliminated with a steady routine of play, work, and rest. Your dog must be part of your day-to-day routine. You can take them with you when you drop the kids off at school, when you collect your mail, and during that morning jog. Using proper walking techniques, you can exercise your dog’s brain and body in unison and give them the freedom they crave. What a great time saver and training tool all in one!

Every breed of dog requires slightly different needs in terms of exercise. A healthy Golden Retriever could easily be run for 20-30 minutes a day before tiring. If weather is a factor, then consider training your dog to run on a treadmill, a great way to get some exercise indoors. 

Chronic Bolters

These are dogs that have learned that there is a great big world out there just waiting for them ~ one full of garbage cans and refuse for them to consume at their leisure. These dogs are going to require a specific training exercise to eliminate the bolting behaviour. Simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Secure your dog to a leash and collar that the dog cannot slip out of.
  2. Bring the dog to the front door.
  3. Drop the leash on the floor and step on it firmly with both feet.
  4. Open the front door and watch as the dog tries to bolt.
  5. The dog will not get far as it is prevented by your weight on the leash.
  6. Close the door.
  7. Repeat this exercise until the dog does not bolt. Instead he should look directly up at you as if to ask, “May I go out now please?”

Only when you are actually leaving the house will you release the dog. This is done using a specific key word like, “OKAY” spoken in a loud, happy voice. Make sure that you proceed through the door first and then release your dog to follow.

Use this same procedure when entering the house. This shows your dog that they must wait for permission and follow your lead and will eliminate that potentially dangerous bolting behaviour.