Does your dog often bark at the front door? This is exactly one of the most common reasons why owners hire a trainer for their dog. Most dogs overreact to the ringing of bells because they know that there is something new, exciting, and potentially dangerous behind the door.
When you look from the perspective of a dog that spends the whole day indoors, with little mental stimuli, it is no wonder that it is very exciting for them to hear the doorbell.
The best time to train desirable behavior at the door is when a dog or puppy first enters your home. If you do not teach your dog the behavior you want, then he will do exactly what makes the most sense to him. In this case – they will bark uncontrollably as soon as someone rings the bell.
It would be best to get a remote doorbell device and use it to teach the dog the behavior you want first, without people on the other side of the door. In this way, you will associate the ringing sound with the desired behavior. You can teach a dog to run up to you at that sound. Another option is to teach him to sit still when he hears that sound or to lie down. The idea is to teach him that behavior to avoid running towards the door and disturbing the guests.
Now that you know you need and can train alternative behavior in your dog, what happens next – when a person crosses the threshold of your home?
Let guests know that the dog is in the process of learning how to greet people
If the dogs are not trained, they will be greeted in their own way – by sniffing, jumping, and licking the human face. So, don’t blame the dog because he does what all dogs do – he greets.
Train one dog behavior that is incompatible with another
The dog, for example, cannot sit and jump at the same time. The dog learns best when in an undisturbed environment, reward him every time he sits down. What you want is for the dog to behave like that always, so that when he doesn’t know what to do, he sits down and waits for you. Focus on teaching the dog to do what you want and to base the training on rewards, instead of shouting NO when he doesn’t listen to you.
The next step is interference training
Once the dog has learned to obey you when you give him a command, it is time to show the same desirable behavior to the guests. Have a person the dog knows well enter through the door. Let him prepare that the dog will react excitedly and initially ignore the dog.
Only later, when the dog sits down, should he gradually greet the dog with a calm caress on his back or chest. It is very important that the person is not overly excited, because the dog will feel it and such a feeling will be transmitted to him.
It’s time to build up the next level of the training
First, train your dog to greet people he knows. Then introduce him to strangers, who are friendly. Have a familiar person help you in the following way: let him approach the dog, but only out of reach for jumping, and let him wait a few seconds.
If the dog has practiced the Sit command in the past, then he will certainly sit down, and in return let your guest reward the dog with a treat or gently caress him. If the dog still jumps with excitement, have the guest take a few steps back and wait for the dog to sit down and calmly wait for a treat or cuddle.
Get to know what your dog loves
Dogs are individuals for themselves, just like humans. This means that not all people like them and they have no obligation to greet everyone and suffer everyone’s hug. Respect your dog’s personality and practice desirable behaviors. This way you will be sure that your trap will grow into a happy, well-trained being who feels safe in the presence of other people.