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Knock, Knock. Who’s There?

There are very few certainties in life; death, taxes, and dogs barking when someone is at the door. There isn’t anything we can do to help regarding the first two things, but we can certainly help with the frustrating third one. It is entirely normal and natural that dogs bark at the door and even jump on guests. For our canine companions, that door and the sound of knocking or the doorbell ringing often has a lot of associated behaviors and emotions attached to it. Many dogs bark and charge the door when we have guests. Some dogs just run out the door into the street where anything can happen. Other dogs are overly excited to see someone new at the door, jumping and pawing at guests, believing that everyone is coming to see them (and of course they are). For those dogs that are fearful of strangers, they may snarl, growl, or run away and hide. At times, it can be a combination of these reactions and if you have multiple dogs, it can be double, triple, or even quadruple the fun!

For most people, they can manage the problem by restraining their dog by their collar or by using a leash. While this strategy may work in the moment, it does nothing to change the behaviors. This means you will have to manage your dog every time that doorbell rings.

While there are many different strategies we can implement for better door manners, the bottom line is that we teach your dog to do something other than jumping on your guests.

Ask your dog to do something he knows well. If your dog is doing what you ask, he won't do something you don't want him to do. If your dog is sitting, he can't jump on your guests. We will sometimes teach dogs to go to their bed, or sit and stay nicely while you invite your guest in.

What is important is that we teach the dog what you do want to replace the behaviors you don’t want. With the holidays coming up quickly, this is something you should begin working on now so you have the skills in place when you do start receiving guests more often.

If all of this sounds great to you, then perhaps you should join us in our Door Manners Class. Your friends and family will appreciate it almost as much as you will.

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