It always happens. There you are with your dog, watching TV and everything is calm and fine. The doorbell rings and the next thing you know your dog who hadn’t moved for hours is up like a crazy banshee, barking and running back and forth to the door. You finally get to the door and as soon as you open it, out he goes to jump on the person on your porch and to run out to the plants in your front yard or the neighbor across the street. We were at a Dog Guard Out of Sight Dog Fence client in Naples yesterday and they were telling us how Roscoe, their American Bulldog, would always do that. Even though we had installed a containment system for him and Roscoe understood his boundaries, sometimes his adrenaline was so high and he was so excited, he would run right through. They knew that this happened very few occasions, but were interested on how they could curb this behavior.
As with Roscoe’s case, the doorbell indicates that a new person who might pay attention to him is about to come in. He gets so excited over this that it is next to impossible for our client to control him and the situation. Letting him continue to build his adrenaline and to allow him to be in control of the scene will make the matter worse over time. Although our client knows exactly what is about to happen whenever the doorbell rings and really doesn’t want that situation to occur, he allows it to occur every time. This is doing nothing to tell Roscoe that what he is doing is wrong. It is really enforcing the behavior and creating a “tunnel vision” with Roscoe whenever he hears the doorbell.
We need to teach our client how to stop the behavior before he opens the door. In order to accomplish this, we need to clearly establish what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When it comes to the door, Roscoe must be taught the one thing he can’t do when the doorbell rings.
If Roscoe is calm and focused on our client when the doorbell rings, the problem is solved. The solution that we always suggest is amazingly simple. Our client had to practice this with Roscoe on a daily basis, so we outlined our lesson plan:
- Have Roscoe on a leash when the front doorbell rings.
- As he goes crazy, our client will calmly walk around until he can step on the leash.
- Pick up the leash and give a slight tug back so Roscoe’s focus is on our client.
- Slowly walk Roscoe to the front door.
- Our client will have Roscoe sit when they reach the front door.
- Once Roscoe is sitting, our client will put his foot on the leash so that Roscoe can’t get up or jump.
- Our client now slowly opens the front door. If Roscoe starts to become adrenalized, our client will verbalize a stern and low “NO” to gain Roscoe’s attention.
- Our client now lets the person in the house while Roscoe is still calmly sitting next to him.
- The person passes and continues into the house while our client is still at the doorway with Roscoe.
- Now, our client calmly steps out the front door (just beyond the stoop). He does this while he is facing Roscoe with his hand up in a “STAY” position.
- Once our client is outside, he invites Roscoe out and has him sit on the other side of the stoop.
- Our client now steps back inside while having Roscoe sitting outside. He then invites Roscoe in and tells him immediately sit.
- He now praises Roscoe for being a good dog.
- They both walk (with the use of the leash) to where the house guest had gone.
- Our client now has Roscoe sit. He praises Roscoe one last time and then calmly releases the leash.
It sounds like there are a lot of steps here, but the detail is designed to instill the fact that the entire process must be calm with Roscoe’s focus on our client. Each step is small so that if anything goes wrong, our client knows exactly what he must resolve.
If you have a dog like Roscoe who goes nuts at the front door and you have more training questions; or you have questions about the Dog Guard underground pet containment system, please contact The Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers in Naples and South Florida. Also, please check out our South Florida Dog Training Blog on our Home Dog Training of South Florida Web Location.