Teaching an Excited Santa Monica Dog to Have Good Door Manners

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 27, 2017

For this Santa Monica dog training session we helped 1 year old Terrier mix Griffith (Pictured here on the right with his pal Odie) learn to behave at the door to get him to stop nipping guests when excited.

When you have dogs this cute, its not uncommon for them to get away with more than they should. I think its a safe be that their good looks led to some of these behavior problems including some unwanted door behavior.

After discussing the situation with one of they guardians, I learned that they didn’t have much structure in place. This can confuse a dog into thinking they have the same level of authority as their humans. When that happens, its not uncommon for the dog to see itself as a peer with the humans. Problem is, if a dog see’s you as an equal, then listening to you becomes optional.

I shared a number of positive dog training tips and behavior secrets that will help the guardians start to change the leader follower dynamic in the home. Consistently rewarding the dogs with structure or disagreeing within three seconds will help the dogs better understand what their humans do and don’t want from them. Its important to get this change in place first anytime you want a dog to have good door manners.

I also shared the easiest way to train any dog. I call it passive training and you can get this dog training tip for free by watching the video below.

By simply recognizing and rewarding the dogs for desired actions and behaviors, the guardians can train their dogs to be well behaved every time they pet them.

Helping the dogs stay calm and rewarding them for desired behaviors should help stop many of their unwanted dog behavior problems, but I knew I needed to go further with the dog behavior at the door.

We didnt have a third person there to play the part of the guest so I coached the guardian up on the technique before beading out to play the part of a guest myself. I set up my camera to record the guardian as she answered the door to capture her movements and the dog’s behavior at the door.

Despite not being in the room to coach her through the door claiming exercise, she did fantastic. My only real critiques were hissing too many times, moving a little too casually and not keeping her feet together or pausing between steps.

I promised the guardian I would embed a video of me demonstrating this technique with another client so she could compare her technique to mine.

If the guardians call and text one another when they are on the way home, they can practice this door claiming exercise amongst themselves. This takes the pressure off and lets the dogs practice a new door behavior.

This usually takes 6-12 repetitions before the dogs start staying behind the invisible line on their own. The added structure and distance should help Griffith learn to adopt better door behavior and stop his excited nipping habit. Training a dog to stay calm at the door is easy, it just takes time and a little practice.

We wrapped things up with a roadmap to success video where I tried to cover all the other dog behavior tips I shared with the guardian during this in home dog training session.

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