One of the most common frustrations that Hamilton dog training experts see among owners is the way their dogs behave at the door. Jumping up on visitors, bolting through the open door, barking when someone knocks or rings the doorbell — if left unresolved, all of these will not only make dog ownership a struggle but also put your canine friend at risk.
Through management and fear-free training, however, it is possible to teach your dog appropriate door manners to keep him safe and responsive to door-related events in a more pleasant way.
Why are Doors Irresistible to Dogs?
Doors hold the promise of adventure for dogs — from racing after cars and sniffing new smells to greeting guests and chasing squirrels or the neighborhood cat. Unfortunately, it only takes a second for a dog to dash through the door, escape, and get into an accident.
On top of this, a particularly big dog that keeps jumping up on people can knock down your guests and hurt them. Barking every time the doorbell rings or someone knocks can get increasingly irritating, and it creates tension and stress for your dog too.
The Need for Physical and Mental Exercise
Many dogs who are chronic door dashers typically lack mental and physical stimulation. Dogs are natural explorers and hunters. When they are bored and unable to release all their pent-up energy, they tend to get creative with finding a way to reach out or do what they want — and that usually includes rushing through the door, digging under or jumping over the fence, or destroying things to make an opening they can go through.
Exercise is just the beginning of instilling proper door manners. It helps get your dog into a calm and balanced state of mind, making him more receptive to your training. Aside from daily exercise, the two other components of door manners are management and dog training.
Managing Your Dog and the Door
Managing your dog’s environment means not giving him the opportunity to practice inappropriate behaviors while simultaneously setting him up for success.
Management takes the form of tools used along with proper dog training near Leesburg, VA. When it comes to door manners, two common management methods are:
Barriers – Prevent your dog from rushing through the door by blocking the area with an x-pen or a baby gate. Do not use this management tool if your dog can jump over them or barrel through.
Crate – Are you letting a guest inside or coming through the door with groceries? A crate will help you contain your dog in a specific place where they can calm down before greeting visitors or doing other door-related activities. A crate is also a safe and quiet place for your dog to take a break whenever he gets too excited or agitated.
Training for Good Door Manners
Dealing with a door-dasher requires consistent and positive Leesburg dog training. Its basics include:
Preventing unwanted behavior or management
Identifying what you want your dog to do instead
Practicing the behavior and making it a predictor of great things
For a dog that keeps jumping on people, for instance, good alternative behavior would be to have him sit down and wait for your permission to greet people. Another is to train him to go to the crate every time the doorbell rings.
The key to instilling door manners is to be consistent. It is crucial that you are not the only one implementing the door training. The rest of the household and your guests should also be on the same page.
Dog Training with Hearts in Harmony
Learn how to communicate and work with your dog through positive reinforcement training by enrolling in any of our classes here at Hearts in Harmony. Our Dog Group Classes offer three levels of fun and rewarding manners classes. We also have Puppy Classes, Specialty Classes, Private Sessions, and more. Check out our list of classes here, and register now with your furry buddy!