Monday, June 9, 2008

Doorbell Training

How many people have the problem of their dog charging the door barking and acting in a highly excited state each and every time the doorbell rings. As I have stated previously, this is the result of training on the part of the owner. Remember Positive Thigmotaxis? The problem usually starts because of an unresolved pack leadership problem with the dog. The dog thinks it is the king of the house and when the doorbell rings, rushes to the door to protect the house from intrusion by strangers. The dog first must understand that it is not the pack leader. This is accomplished by completing the training on Pack Leadership. The next step is to get some friends to act as doorbell ringers. That's right, you get them to come to your house and ring the doorbell. You are not going to let them in. You just want them to ring the bell and go away. When the doorbell rings, let the dog bark and tell you there is someone at the door. You want him to alert you when someone is at the door. Tell him "good dog" and give him a reward. You want him to learn to bark a few times and then shut up. Walk away and go about your business. Pay no attention to the dog, even if he continues to bark at the door. When the dog finds out that it is no big deal with him barking at the door, he will stop barking and probably come to find you. When he finds you and is not barking, give him a reward.
Have your friends do this several times a day and do the same routine. The dog will get tired of telling you that it is important that you know there are strangers at the door and stop acting like a crazy nut when the doorbell rings.
The next step is similar to the conditioning for the aggression toward strangers. Have a friend come over to your house, ring the bell and when the dog goes to the door, give it its reward, and put a lead on the dog. Tell your friend to come in and go into another room and sit down. They can watch T V or read or anything else they might want to do. You stay where you are and with the dog on lead do some behaviors such as come, sit, down, side and any other behaviors the dog might have command of. If the dog does not quiet down, do the Magic Button routine until you get a quiet dog. As the dog gets more self control in this situation, move into the room with the stranger and reward the dog if it acts in a calm. quiet manner toward the stranger. It helps if you have worked the dog on the Meeting Strangers program. The dog must act in an acceptable manner in order to get the reward. As the dog is able to accept people ringing the doorbell and coming into the house without acting in an excitable or aggressive manner and trying to jump on your guests, the household will become a more quiet, peaceful for both you and your dog.
I have been involved in manufacturing and judging dogcarting for over thirty years.
I am a certified dogcart judge for several Breed Clubs.
I have been practicing animal behavior therapy for over thirty years.
Giant Regards, Harry Russ M Ed123 Yeager Ave. Forty Fort

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