Teaching a Pair of Cavachons Good Door Behavior

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 28, 2017

In this Omaha dog training session we worked with a pair of ten-year-old Cavachons (Precious and Parker) who need help with their door behavior when guests ring the doorbell.

One of the first things I discussed with the dog’s guardians was Precious’s weight issue. She was so large she was unable to get down off of the couch on her own and her mobility was pretty compromised.

I learned that the guardians were feeding both dogs out of the same bowl and only feeding them once a day. It’s best if you can feed a dog two to three times a day as this will help keep them feeling full and also increase their metabolism.

Later in the session I showed the guardians how to add a little bit of structure to meal time to help the dogs develop a little bit more respect for them as authority figures. As I watched the guardian start adding food to the two individual bowls, I was concerned with the amount of food she was adding to the bowls.

I had the guardian remove about half of the portion which left us with a reasonable amount of food for dogs this size.

The greenies that you see in the above picture had been picked up by the guardian prior to our session. This is far too many of these to give to any dog in one day. I recommended that the dog start getting only one greeny every other day.

Next we went over the dog’s day-to-day routine. This is when I learned that the dogs did not have many rules or boundaries which is most certainly why the dogs were acting out.

I suggested number of rules and showed them ways to enforce them. I also showed the guardians how they could add structure to repeating daily interactions such as petting with a purpose and rewarding the dogs for desired actions or behaviors.

Next I wanted to address the dog’s behavior at the door. Helping the dogs learn better door behavior was the primary reason the guardians had us come out for this dog behavior session.

I had one of the guardian step outside so that he could play the part of an arriving guest allowing me to demonstrate how to claim the door from the dogs.

It was great to see how quickly Parker understood what I was asking from him. Within a minute or two he was laying down several feet away instead of rushing the door. This is the bright spot in the day of any dog behavior expert.

Training a dog to behave at the door isn’t very hard when you use the right approach as you can see in the above video. I had the guardians practice this door answering ritual multiple times make sure they got the same response.

Developing good door manners is all about training a dog to behave how you want. By breaking things into small steps and practicing them over and over, we were able to teach Parker how we wanted him to behave throughout the door answering ritual.

By establishing an invisible boundary several feet away from the door, and enforcing it before answering the door, it was easy to get the dogs to behave at the door. Adding in extra distance helped him stop being an excited dog at the door.

I recommended the guardians invite friends or neighbors over at least once a day for the next week so that they can practice claiming the door and train the dogs how they should behave when anyone rings the doorbell.

The guardians may also want to utilize some counterconditioning to stop the dog from barking when they hear the sound of a doorbell. They can find an example of the technique that I use with this link.

By the end of the session, Parker no longer barked or rushed the door when anyone rang the doorbell. He was also starting to follow the new rules on his own and his guardians had already adopted the padding with a purpose philosophy.

It’s going to take a couple of weeks to a month or so before these new behavior patterns become staff list. I would suggest of the guardians strictly adhere to these new rules and enforce them consistently within three seconds over this next month to make sure that the dog behavior modification becomes permanent.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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