Training a Santa Monica Dog to Behave at the Door and Stop Hating the Mail Carrier

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 26, 2017

Violet is a two-year-old Gernam Shepherd mix who lives in Santa Monica. Her guardians set up a dog behavior training session to train her to respect personal space, stop being aggressive to the mail carrier, have better door manners and give them tools to redirect her attention away from things that activate her prey drive.

Violet was an excited dog to start the session, jumping up on me repeatedly which can be a dog’s way of claiming you or letting you know they are in charge. This is often a result of the dog also being overexcited.

Many people pet their dogs as soon as they come home. While petting your dog is a good thing, anything it is doing when you pet it is what it thinks you are petting it for. Have a dog excited to see you and you pet them, you are training your dog to get excited.

To help Violet learn to stay calm, I showed the guardians a few dog behavior tips then showed them how to train a dog to stay a respectable distance from the door when guests knock.

This door training is both easy and effective. But by increasing the distance between the dog and the door, it allows the dog to settle down and be in a better position to control itself; the end result, a dog with great door behavior.

It will take a little practice before Violet starts staying behind the invisible line 10 feet away from the door. A good plan would be to have friends come over to help practice this new door claiming exercise. That way the guest can call or text when they are a few minutes away. This way the human at home is ready to react right away instead of being caught off guard.

Another door behavior issue Violet’s guardians wanted me to help with was to stop her aggressive behavior anytime the mail carrier dropped mail through their mail slot in the door. Acting aggressive to the mailman is such an old issue its become a bit of a cliche. I share a positive dog training tip on how to stop that unwanted dog behavior in the video below.

I know the mail carrier will be happy to no longer have a house on their route where the dog is aggressive to the mailman.

There were a number of small things that the humans were doing that likely confused Violet into thinking she was in a position of authority. By petting with a purpose, using passive training to reward desired actions and escalating consequences to disagree with those they didn’t like, it shouldn’t take her humans long to teach her to behave in all kinds of situations.

By the end of the session, Violet was respecting people’s personal space, was jumping up far less and looking to the humans for guidance. With some practice, it shouldn’t take long for Violet to start acting this way for them all the time.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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