Escape-artist dogs: what to do about it
Q: I have to be on constant guard when people come to my front door as when I open it, my two-year-old Westie bitch tries to get out. I'm worried she'll get out and get hurt. It's causing me great anxiety. How can I control her?
A: Most terriers are very quick and may 'nip' through open doorways, which can be a worry, particularly if you live near a busy road. Make sure your Westie is microchipped and is always wearing a collar with an identification tag so that, should she ever get lost, she can be returned to you. An easy way to stop dogs charging out of the front door is to teach them that if they go into the kitchen when the front door bell rings, they will receive a treat. Your dog can then be safely left behind the kitchen door whilst you let in your visitor. Practice this by having a few training sessions - ask a friend to stand at the front door and ring the bell several times. Alternatively, you could place a dog gate in your hallway, so that your Westie is safely behind it when you open the front door.
Inga MacKellar, animal behaviourist