My dog won’t leave me alone



“Out” is a very useful command.

Ace is constantly in my business. Hovering. Begging. Drooling.

If I didn’t have commands to direct him, I would go nuts.

I use the command “out” to mean “leave the room we are in.” Other versions of this command could be “go lie down” or, if you’re a redneck, “GIT!”

For Ace and I, “out” initially meant “Get your ass out of the kitchen.” But now I use the command in all areas of the house. When I’m in my office, and I don’t want a mutt begging for dinner, I can tell him “out” and he moves his pity party to the hall.

“Out” was one of the easiest commands for Ace to learn. He obeys it 99 percent of the time, probably because I’m usually irritated and very direct when I say it.

What is the difference between “Out” and “Go lie down”?

Kona the tri-colored English springer spaniel and Ace the black lab mix dog lying down and stayingYou can define each phrase the way you want. Maybe you don’t need more than one command. The simpler, the better.

I use “down” to mean “lie down right where you are.”

“Go lie down” means “go lie down anywhere.”

“Go to your bed” is pretty self explanatory. It should be simplified to “bed.”

“Back up” means just that.

And “out” means “leave the room.”

These commands work well for us. Ace gets the point. And if I want him to stay somewhere specific, like on a certain rug or a certain spot in a certain room, I walk him to that spot myself and tell him “down.” This is a good challenge for all dogs – staying in a certain spot in the house for a significant amount of time.

How to teach a dog boundaries using the “out” command

“Out” is the easiest command ever. Simply tell your dog “out” and then walk him or nudge him out of the room. When he comes back in, repeat the word “out” and nudge him out again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Dogs naturally respect physical boundaries, so it won’t take long for a dog to understand. Some dogs will test their owners more than others, so don’t give up. All dogs can learn this command.

You can use treats to speed up the process if you want. I usually don’t use treats with Ace. He tends to get too excited and drool everywhere. But if you want to use treats, that’s fine. Just make sure you are not training your dog to repeat the pattern of stepping back into the room and then back out to get a treat. He should get treats only when he remains out of the room.

Use your typical release word such as “OK” when it’s OK for your dog to return to the room.

Avoid using the word “stay”

When I say “Out,” it means “Get out and stay out.” The stay command is unnecessary.

People go overboard with the stay command. By doing so we teach our dogs that we are not serious unless we tell them to stay. Cutting out the stay command completely is a challenge of mine.

Teach the “out” command in one room at a time

Keep it simple for your dog when she is first learning the “out” command. Stick to one area of the house such as the kitchen until she understands.

Once she has the “out” command down in on room, work on other areas such as the bedroom or the office. I can even tell Ace “out” when we are playing fetch. When I say “out,” he gives me some space for a longer throw.

What commands do you use to direct your dog when he’s constantly begging or just plain in your way?

Now if we could just get a certain (LARGE!) tan tabby cat to obey the “out” command, we’d be set.

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  1. Apryl on February 21, 2011

    Cats never obey that stuff, they just look at you like you’re crazy or completely ignore you. That’s what’s up with cats though!

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lindsay Stordahl, Dog Food Recipes. Dog Food Recipes said: Out is a very useful command. Ace is constantly in my business. Hovering. Begging. Drooling. If I didn't have co… http://bit.ly/ho6E0k [...]

  3. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 21, 2011

    Yeah …

  4. Jessi on February 21, 2011

    Charlie knows “Out” for the kitchen, when I was training him to stay out i’d tell him “out”, lead him onto the carpet, and tell him to lie down. Then I would give him a treat for staying out for a while, but when he came back in he had to go back and didn’t get a treat.
    When I’m eating on the floor I’ll tell him “Back up” and “Lie down” so he moves away and lays down.
    “Bed Time” is what I tell Charlie when I want him to go to my room. (he is always oddly excited to go sleep on my bedroom floor? :P )

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 22, 2011

      Good boy, Charlie!

      Ha, he just wants to be in your room because he associates it with YOU!

  5. Jana Rade on February 21, 2011

    Jasmine picked up quickly on what works and what doesn’t, and since hovering and being pushy and in the way didn’t work, she simply doesn’t do that.

    With J.D. I just send him to lay down with instruction where if necessary, seems to work well enough too.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 22, 2011

    Jasmine is a smart girl.

  7. Dawn on February 22, 2011

    Many dog trainers say you have to be very specific and use a one-word command like “bed” versus a command like “go to your bed”. I can’t help using phrases sometimes and my dogs get it so that’s okay. But if you’re not used to training dogs or if your dog has a difficult time learning commands, it’s best to keep it simple. I find that using a hand signal with the command helps too. Sephi and Maya obey many of their commands with just a gesture.

    On a fun note regarding begging, I say “no begging” when they watch me eat. They then avert their eyes and go find an out of the way place to lay down but still have a direct line of site to the floor for just in case we drop any food.

  8. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 22, 2011

    Yeah I should’ve used “bed” instead of “go to your bed.” And hand signals are always good.

    When I tell Ace “out,” he begs from a distance. I can usually tolerate this. If not, that’s when he’s told to go to his bed.

  9. Two Pitties in the City on February 22, 2011

    I think I need to teach them the “out” command. I have to leave the house and go to a coffee shop if I need to get stuff done. Right now I just tell them “go to bed” and they both have to go to their crates.

  10. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 22, 2011

    They love you! :)

  11. Kristine on February 23, 2011

    Great advice! We have unintentionally taught our dog Shiva this word, just by kicking her out of the kitchen when we’re trying to cook. The space is small and having a scrounging dog underfoot just makes it smaller. I have never applied the word to any other room, though, so I am sure I will have to start over again if I want her to leave me alone in a different space. Thanks for the tips! Ace sounds like a very well-behaved dog.

  12. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 23, 2011

    He has his moments :) That’s how “out” started for us as well. It was when we were eating and he would be sitting right there, staring and drooling. “Down” wasn’t enough because then he’d just lie down and beg.

  13. lizzedru on February 23, 2011

    We have an out cue, go downstairs, go lie down, get on your bed and no begging/manners has turned into the go to your bed while we are eating. We don’t allow the dogs in the kitchen whether we are cooking or not. The water and food dishes sit right outside the kitchen. Two reasons for this, Belle would be a counter surfer if possible and two CV had a dog he taught to open the fridge and get him a beer. This dog got upset one day and ate stuff in the fridge, hence no more dogs in the kitchen. It also keeps the dog hair in the food down. :-)

    Thanks for another great post!!!

  14. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 23, 2011

    I like the idea of keeping the dogs out of the kitchen. I think it would be too hard for us, as Ace has to walk through the kitchen to get to the laundry room where he sleeps at night. And his bowls are in the kitchen where it’s convenient. But I like the idea of having certain areas off limits to dogs. And in my case, a very “hungry” cat.

  15. lizzedru on February 24, 2011

    Lindsey, I totally realize that with some houses and routines it doesn’t work. Thankfully its worked for us. I think it also helps that we have two different types of flooring in the house. That way its easier to keep them off of one type.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 28, 2011

      Yeah that really helps Ace understand boundaries as well, the different floor materials.

  16. Tammy on February 24, 2011

    I, too, wish that we could train our cats this useful command! My old boy, Oscar, decided that I needed to be woken up the other night. If only I could have just commanded “Out” and been able to get back to sleep!! :)

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 28, 2011

      Haha! I have to put my cats in the laundry room at night or they drive me nuts. I’m a mean cat mom :)

  17. Nancy on March 4, 2011

    Lindsay,
    I guess I must be a redneck because I tell Sophie to “get!” when she is in my face! ha. Just kidding, I am NOT a redneck. She does almost always immediatley move away when I say this, but I guess who wouldn’t! Teaching the “out” command would be way better. With Elsie I always just say “down” and she is good about doing just that. Enjoyed this humorous post.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 4, 2011

      With Beamer, I definitely say “GIT!” He does run away from me when I say this.

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