How to Train Dogs to Stay Calm When Guests Knock on the Door

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 29, 2017

Dizel is a three-year-old Morkipoo who lives in Omaha with Tucker, a one-year-old Shih Tzu. Their guardians set up a dog behavior training session with me to help them stop getting excited and train them to listen to commands and corrections.

I got to see this dog excitement when I arrived for the session. The guardian had to help them back in order to prevent them from running out the front door.

While this approach works in the moment, it doesn’t teach the excited dog how to develop a new behavior and can actually intensify their reaction and excitement.

To address this problem, I had one of the guardians head outside so that I could show them how to claim the area around the front door and train them to stay behind an invisible line while the humans answered the door on their own.

Because we had introduced rules, boundaries and new more effective ways to communicate with the dogs nonverbally before practicing the door answering exercise, Dizel and Tucker caught on right away. Within moments, the dogs were staying behind the new boundary on their own as their guardian’s took turns pounding on the door to pretend they were an arriving guest.

Because we increased the distance and practiced answering the door in small steps, the dogs learned to stay calm while the human tended to the door and guest. Calming dogs is all about teaching them how to behave, increasing the distance between them and what they are reacting to and not exasperating the excitement.

As a dog behavior expert, I’m consistently amazed at any people confuse an excited dog for a happy one. While a dog can be excited and happy, they can also be happy and a calm dog. By petting them with a purpose, enforcing new rules consistently within 3 seconds and demonstrating the humans were the leaders, it was amazing how quickly the dogs calmed down and embraced the dog obedience lessons we introduced.

Dizel and Tucker are good dogs, they just didn’t understand how their family wanted them to act. Once we taught the dogs how the family wanted them to behave, they were ore than happy to oblige.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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