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Daily Training: Front Door

Monday, July 27, 2015

Does your dog bolt out the door?  Or do they go absolutely insane when a visitor rings the doorbell?  As the alpha in your pack, you must establish the door as YOURS.  This is YOUR home, you are responsible for the well being of all who reside in it.  When your dog does not understand this, he believes HE is alpha and HE is responsible for who walks in and out of that door.  This thinking not only makes it difficult to handle your dog when the door is being opened, but it also puts a tremendous amount of stress on your dog.  Can you imagine being in charge of a whole family without the proper equipment, training and resources?  You'd be pretty crazy too, making the wrong choices and causing chaos in the family.  But the alpha-talk is another topic.  Let's discuss this door issue.

Train Daily!
For front door training (when someone knocks or rings the doorbell), teach your dog to follow you to a specific point on your way to the door and to wait.  Always use this same spot.  Use treats as positive reinforcement.  Once they've done this enough and they've established this spot as their "wait" spot, next step is to open the door.  Be confident when you do this.  With your back facing your dog, open the door.  If he makes any type of move towards you, use a distraction method that causes him to focus on you.  You can use the "BAH" method, which is a low growl.  It is not aggressive and is more of a "pay attention" type of message.

Have a partner stand on the other side of the door and ring the door bell.  Have your dog do as you've trained him: follow you to that spot, wait, and then you will open the door and tell the "visitor" that the dog is going to greet him/her.  Then once you've closed the door, call your dog to the visitor and have him greet him/her.  Hopefully at this time, you've already taught your dog not to jump on people! ;)  Spend at least 5 minutes a day doing this training.

Another tip outside of front door training:
When people want to greet your dog (while outside the home), never just let them approach your dog and never just let your dog approach them.  Train your dog to wait until you tell him to greet the person.  Tell the person to hold on until you tell your dog it's okay to greet them.

Things to remember
  1. Be consistent; you need to be the one to win.
  2. Control the situation at all times by interrupting the "bad" behavior.  Do this by bringing the dog's focus to YOU.
  3. Anticipate the behavior. 
  4. When your dog makes a mistake, don't stress!  Just take a break and try again.
  5. Train all the time, just because.
  6. Reward Reward Reward!!
  7. Have fun with it!

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