When the doorbell rings, does your normally calm dog turn into a doorbell fanatic? Barking, jumping, clawing and scaring guests on the opposite side of the door? This is common problem many dog owners experience, and it’s unpleasant for visitors and potentially dangerous for your dog, should someone open the door unexpectedly and your dog runs outdoors unleashed. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve with this simple dog training exercise.
Buy a Mat and Dog Treats
Start this dog training exercise by purchasing (if you don’t already have one) a non-skid mat for your dog and special dog treats. Place the mat in the living area of your home, but away from the main entry door. Use the dog treats to encourage your dog to step onto the mat, sit down and finally lie down on the mat. Praise profusely and lavish the treats on him until he has mastered lying down on the mat at your command, and be sure to use the word ‘mat’ in your commands.
Extend the Dog Training
Once your dog has mastered lying down on the mat on command, extend the training to include the command of ‘Go to your mat’ from various rooms of your home. Follow your dog and give him an immediate treat for each successful endeavor. When he masters the command from every room in the home, gradually extend the treat giving time to a few seconds, working up to a couple of minutes before he receives his reward. While extending the time he must lie on the mat before receiving his reward employ the use of distractions, such as a rolling ball, windup toy or ringing phone to condition your dog to remain still, lying on his mat until you give the release command. Use a release command, such as ‘OK’ to let your dog know he can leave his mat.
Enlist the aid of family or friend to put your dog through several test runs to see how he will respond to a ringing doorbell. Place your dog on a leash and stand near the mat, but away from the door. Have your helper ring the doorbell. Ignore your dog’s fanatic behavior and wait until he becomes calm, then give the command ‘Go to your mat’ and release the leash. When he goes to his mat, reward him with a treat and praise.
Repeat this training exercise until your dog remains calm and goes to his mat without using a leash. Then move yourself and your dog closer to the door, repeating the doorbell testing until you are close enough to the entry door so that your dog must run away from the door to reach his mat each time the doorbell rings.