I was working on a new Dog Guard Out of Sight Dog Fence Installation in Bonita Springs last week and was laying the copper perimeter wire in the front yard. The FedEx Delivery Man was bringing a package to the front door and as soon as my client opened the door, King, her Great Dane (and my future student), ran out the front door into the front yard. Luckily, I quickly called him and he came right to me. As I was talking with my client later that afternoon, she mentioned that whenever anyone came to the front door, King would run and jump on them and run out into the yard. She knew that the underground dog fence would keep King from running into the street and into the neighborhood, but just wished she had a way for him not to do all that jumping and bolting…
The problem that my client was experiencing was that she wasn’t taking control of the front door situation. The doorbell rang and King would associate that with an adrenalized event of “a new person to play with” and freedom of roaming the front yard. My client was unknowingly showing herself as submissive and complacent in this situation which allowed King to do whatever he wanted. What I needed to do was to teach my client how to let King understand that she was in charge of the moment and that she was not going to allow him to jump and bolt.
First, let’s walk through what she would normally do when the doorbell would ring…
Someone comes to the front door and rings the bell. This gets King’s attention and he starts barking and running to the door. She follows behind and when she gets to the door, she tries to move king by pushing him away from the door with one hand while reaching for the door knob with the other. She turns her back to King as she tries to act as a wedge between him and the opening door. Kings gets more excited, continues his barking, and is trying to jump on the person “trying to come in”. As all this is happening, my client is getting more and more wound up and adrenalized. Finally King “sees his chance” and bolts for the front yard.
The major mistakes that my client made was not to stabilize the situation before the door was opened and not showing the appropriate communication explaining the rules to King. Here is what should have happened.
Someone comes to the front door and rings the doorbell. King (again) runs to the front door. My client calmly walks to the front door with a squirt bottle containing water. She calmly faces King, tells him “No” in a very low, growly-like sound (think of a pirate), and squirts the water bottle at him. It might take two or three times, but King should back off several feet and look at her. She now calmly reaches for the door knob as she continues to face King. If King moves towards her, she repeats her growly sound with the squirt. She opens the door while still facing King. If King starts to move towards her, she closes the door and repeats her growl/squirt. Once the person is inside the door, she calmly closes the door and praises King for obeying her by not jumping and running out the door.
What she has actually done is to talk to King in a way he understands. Being calm, standing tall, and facing King is canine body language for “I am the boss”. Making the growly sound and the use of the squirt is simply heightening the communication of “I am the boss”. Praising King when he didn’t jump or run out the door is part of the canine learning process of “That is the right thing to do”. If she repeats this every time someone comes to the door, it enforces the repetitive and consistent nature of the canine learning process.
We practiced this exercise that afternoon for about 30 minutes and King stopped going nuts when people came to the front door. When I returned the next day to continue my underground fence installation, the FedEx delivery person returned again. My client followed my instructions and King did not go nuts at the front door. The FedEx guy gave me a big “thumbs up” as he drove away.
Jumping and running out the front door is both a safety risk and annoying to anyone coming to your home. Minimizing the adrenaline created by escaping the front door goes a long way in increasing the effectiveness of the out of sight Dog Guard perimeter fence placed around your property. You can phone or email us at Dog Fence Training Help. We have other great training information at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Bonita Springs South Florida. Our Dog Training site has more great stuff at South Florida Dog Training Blog . Don’t forget to visit our Dog Training web site at Home Dog Training South Florida.