Techniques are provided for programming a memory device. A pre-charge phase is used to boost the channel of an unselected NAND string by allowing a bit line voltage to reach the channel. To maximize the channel pre-charge while also minimizing program disturb, a drain-side dummy word line voltage is controlled based on the position of the selected word line. The drain-side dummy word line voltage can be relatively high or low when the selected word line is relatively far from or close to the drain-side dummy word line, respectively. When the drain-side dummy word line voltage is relatively high, the bit line voltage can easily pass through and boost the channel. When the drain-side dummy word line voltage is relatively low, program disturb of drain-side data word lines is reduced due to a smaller channel gradient and a corresponding reduced amount of hot carriers.