Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. This is the most common complaint I hear from pet owners: The sound of the doorbell often unleashes an eruption of barking, racing back and forth, pawing and scratching at the door, and jumping all over any and all guests. Even worse, an excitable pooch takes several minutes to calm down enough to respond to familiar commands. Your situation — where your dog listens well under relaxed conditions but tunes you out when extremely excited — is very normal.
Start by teaching your dog to do a down stay on a mat when a visitor comes to the door. You will need to teach this behavior well in advance of someone ringing the bell or knocking at your door. Mat training should slowly integrate distractions and visitors as your dog's training progresses.
In the beginning, give your dog only limited freedom on the end of a leash when a guest comes to the door; over time, work up to having her off leash when the doorbell rings. Have a leash next to the door that you can easily snap onto your dog’s collar when a guest arrives; this will prevent her from racing around your house, dashing out the door, or jumping on your visitor. Be sure to practice your mat work beforehand with the leash on. Using a leash keeps your dog closer at your side and gives you more ability to direct her to perform appropriate behaviors.
Set up a treat station by the door that is out of reach of your dog, but can easily be accessed when a guest comes over. When a guest comes in, treat your dog for sitting, and then immediately ask her to do another behavior, or simply to stay in the sit to await another treat or petting. You may need to treat your dog more frequently until she learns to behave calmly under the most exciting circumstances. For instance, when you are home alone, you may only need to treat your dog at the very end of a long sit stay when the door opens. However, when a guest comes over and ups the excitement level significantly, you may need to treat her every few seconds to begin with. Involve your guests and reinforce positive behavior in your dog by asking them to treat or pet your dog only when she's sitting.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Purina One's camp for cat lovers includes
a "campfire" made of kibble, cat-friendly
yoga, 20 adoptable…
These adorable dogs and cats were lucky
enough to be welcomed into loving
forever families — and they know it.
Bringing home a new cat? Follow Mikkel
Becker's checklist to ensure your house
is safe and welcoming for your…
Could your feline use a little more daily
exercise? Here are some simple ways to
get him moving that won’t break…
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your
lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down
more than 300 breeds for you.
No one wants his best friend to be sick in the car. Dr. Andy Roark (literally) reveals the many signs of motion…
The Lagotto Romagnolo was bred to seek
out truffles, the fungi highly prized by
chefs, thanks to his keen sense of…
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.