Show of hands, how many owners have dogs that go ballistic when they hear a knock or the doorbell ring? How many owners have dogs that dart out the door as soon as it is partially opened? 70% of dog owners deal with this on a daily basis. Through training, persistence and a lot of patience, a dog can be trained to “tone it down” when guest come to the door. Here are a few tips.
Back to basics
When starting any new training routine, always go back to basics. Basic obedience should include the cues for sit, lie down, stay and release from commands. Work on the dogs sit/stay or down/stay. Practice the cues until they are strong and the dog doesn’t break until released. Basic commands are the backbone to every training program.
Ding, dong, ditch
It’s time to look at why the dog reacts like he does when the doorbell chimes. Are there kids who rush to the door in a fit of excitement? Do the adults jump and fuss when guests come over? Dogs mimic their owner’s actions and reactions to situations. If there is a lot of to-do over company, then some exercises need to take place, showing the dog that there is nothing to get excited over. Invite neighbors to randomly knock on the door, or ring the doorbell and walk away. Don’t react to it, calmly continue with the activity at hand as if nothing was heard. Don’t react to the dog either. Let him figure out there is nothing to fuss about.
To your spot
Find a spot near the door for the dog to sit and wait for guests to enter. Treat lure the dog to the designated area with a verbal command. Once in place, ask the dog to sit/stay. Slowly open the door. If the dog breaks the cue, shut the door and re-cue him. Open the door again and watch the dog. When the dog remains in the sit/stay until released, their treat is to greet the visitor. If there is someone on the other side of the door, explain ahead of time about training, most people understand. It may be required to put a sign on the front door explaining the training procedure.
Training takes time and effort. Some dogs get it really quick, others it takes a little longer. All training requires consistency. A dog will become confused if the “to your spot” cue is used sometimes but not others. Use the training with tolerance and diligence, the dog will eventually come around to wanting to stay inside, where the people are.