How to Teach Your Dog Calm Response to Doorbells

Even if your dog knows to sit and stay when you open the door, the sound of the doorbell or a knock on the door is likely to send her into a frenzy of barking as she charges the door. Even though you may want her to display this protective side, you need to find a way to make her stop so that you can answer the door.

To accomplish this goal, you need to enlist the aid of a friend or neighbor to ring your doorbell or knock on the door.

  1. Agree on a time and put your dog on leash.

  2. When the bell rings and your dog goes through her antics, tell her to “Sit and Stay.”

    To help make your helper’s arrival as traditional as possible, have him or her ring the doorbell only once. Ask him or her to wait for you to open the door.

  3. Start to open the door and when your dog gets up, which she surely will, reinforce the Sit-Stay command and give a brief check if necessary.

    If your pet is an excitable soul, you may have to put her on the live ring of her training collar before she takes you seriously. Less excitable dogs catch on after two or three attempts.

  4. When your dog stays, open the door and admit your accomplice.

    At this point, your pooch probably wants to say hello. Again, reinforce the Stay, and have your helper approach her holding out the palm of his or her hand.

  5. Let your dog sniff your visitor’s palm, and then have your helper ignore her.

    You may have to be right next to your pup to reinforce the Sit-Stay command.

  6. Repeat this procedure several times until your dog reliably holds the Sit-Stay while you open the door.

    Remember to release her.

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