Doorbell Craziness: If your dog goes nuts when the doorbell rings and what to do about it.
Sometimes we accidentally train our dogs to do this by pulling and pushing and yelling and pleading at them to stop barking and jumping and rushing the door when the doorbell rings. Then, we give in and open the door because we have someone on the other side waiting to come in. This becomes a highly rewarding game for our dog and they actually learn that they will be rewarded with an exciting visitor to jump on when the door opens.
What to do:
Training a quiet sit stay when visitors ring the door bell, and never opening the door until until your dog is sitting peacefully waiting for his reward- attention from people coming through the door, will help this problem tremendously.
For this to be successful, you must first train your dog to sit and stay with and without distractions (all over the house and outside) for a full two minutes.
If your dog gets up as you open the door, immediately shut the door and redirect your dog back into a sit stay. Give the verbal and hand commands for “stay” and attempt to open the door again. Practice this every time you go out an entrance, and once your dog stays as you open and then walk through the door, say “okay” or “let’s go” from the other side of the threshold. ALWAYS give your dog a release word at the end of the stay.
Whenever you expect visitors, put your dog’s leash on ahead of time. Carry the leash with you so you can react quickly when the doorbell rings. Have plenty of tasty treats by the front door or in your pocket. When the doorbell rings, walk your dog to the door, and ask for a sit far enough away so that you can open the door without it touching your dog. Do not attempt to open the door until your dog has stopped barking and is sitting somewhat calmly. If your dog gets up when you start to open the door, shut the door! Ask your dog to sit and stay again and try to open the door. Every time you start to open the door and your dog gets up, shut the door. This will teach your dog that he must stay sitting in order for mom or dad to completely open the door, and for the really fun people to come through and pay attention to him. It works fabulously! Your guests may have to wait a minute or two, but your dog will catch on quickly. You can even leave some treats out on the front step so your guests can reward your dog once they come through the door, but only if he is sitting quietly and not jumping or barking. Enlist the help of friends and have a “Front Door Manners” party, and including jumping behavior as well.
It may also help to start desensitizing your dog to the doorbell. Start by ringing the doorbell many times a day for no reason. When you go out to get he mail, when you come home from wok, when you come in from play or walking, while your dog is eating, etc, so your dog will learn that the sound of the doorbell ringing doesn’t necessarily mean someone new is coming through the door. You can even tape-record the sound of the doorbell and play it a hundred times a day. You can even buy a remote doorbell and ding it all the time! It won’t take long for your dog to learn the doorbell isn’t that exciting after all.