I was at a new Home Dog Training client in Norcross last Monday helping her with her one year old Siberian Husky. Huskies are very energetic and somewhat crazy dogs. (I should know, the newest member of our doggie family is a one year old Husky/German Shepherd Mix.) Anyway, her Husky’s big problems were not listening, jumping on people, and pulling on the walk. These are all “standard Husky things” and we got them under control in a few hours. My client was amazed at how easy the process was to learn and how well Mandy, the Husky, responded to the training.
As we were finishing up, I asked my client if she could think of anything else we needed to address with Mandy. She thought for a moment and then said there was one more problem. It seems that Mandy loves to run to the door and be a complete nudge when anyone rings the front doorbell. When anyone comes over, it is a crazy fight at the front door to let the friend in, get the package, or pay for the pizza. This was very embarrassing for her. She hoped we had an answer for that.
I told my client that we had a wonderful answer that always works to keep the dog away from the front door when needed. I admonished her from any embarrassment because of Mandy’s current “door behavior”. Almost all dogs dash to the front door when the door bell rings or someone knocks on the door. It normally involves barking, jumping, sniffing, nudging, nipping, and sometimes running out the front door. We really don’t want these activities to take place when we have people over. It is just rude and embarrassing.
My client needs to make a very simple and consistent rule that can be executed when people are at the front door. The rule is simply “When someone comes to the front door, stay away from the front door”. Even though this sounds obvious, my client had let Mandy get to the front door and was more worried about Mandy’s jumping, barking, and other immediate behaviors. None of her actions could get Mandy away from the door because she was not focused on “what she really wanted”. So, how do we keep Mandy away from the front door?
There are many ways that this can be done, but I thought I would give my client the one that would work the best with her and Mandy. The most important part of any educational process is that it allows her to maintain focus with Mandy and that she is always calm and collected in her actions.
Here is what I suggest:
- Click a leash on Mandy and ask another family member to hold the leash with Mandy about twenty feet from the door.
- My client should be calmly standing at the door, facing her dog.
- Another person is outside and now knocks or rings the door bell.
- If Mandy starts to move towards the door, face her and vebally correct her in a stern and resolute manner. I also want the person holding the leash do the same while giving a slight tug on the leash so that Mandy looks back at the person holding the leash.
- Repeat this process until Mandy is calmly sitting and not approaching the door.
- Now, I want my client to open the door and calmly invite the person in. She needs to remain on her toes in case Mandy starts to approach the door. If this happens, they need to repeat the correction process detailed above.
- My client can now close the door behind her guest. If Mandy is still calm, invite her over to meet my client’s guest. If she is not calm, she is now probably breaking a possible rule of “don’t go nuts in the house”.
- Repeat the “door exercise” several times a day. I suggested that they should try to use different people in all the “human positions” (person ringing the door bell, person at the door, and person with the leash). In a few weeks, Mandy should no longer be running to the door.
Again, I want to remind you that this is one of several methods that can be used to keep your dog back from the front door. Some methods work better for specific dogs.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over sixteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.