The front door
Most dogs that get excited at the front door recognize fully that there’s somebody at the entrance to their den. If they think that they are the pack leader, then it is their job to decide whether the person is a danger or not. This is not a good job for your dog to have as it is only a matter of time before they make a mistake. Play it safe and build it up to having a dog that can sit in one spot while your door opens.
Just like it is your job to get up to answer the door in your own home but not at your friends, so your dog sees it as his job. He’ll answer and check out the visitors, entering what he sees as his den where he is the pack leader. It is not surprising that some exciting activities take place as the two different species mix, mingle and then settle, everyone with their interpretation of who fits where in the pack!
The solution, in the long run, simply shows your dog that you are the pack leader and it is, therefore, your job to assess people coming into the den.
Here are the three simple options available to you when the somebody comes to the door that is covered off in the video:
Remove your dog
If you are the slightest bit unsure or nervous then only remove your dog from the situation and put your dog gently into a room. It will not be forever. This is just a temporary safety measure until things are fully under control.
- Your dog will understand that he is not needed and he is no longer the decision maker in this area anymore
- Visitors are more than understanding if you tell them “Hold on a second – I am just going to put the dog away.”
- You will be far more relaxed, and your dog will pick up on this and will be calmer
- Once your visitor is seated, bring your dog out on a lead, keep your dog away from them until they have calmed down
- If you are confident your dog is friendly then drop the lead on the floor and take it off later
- If your dog growls or shows any aggression simply pick up the lead and isolate your dog. Your dog is not warning you about any danger; it knows that you have already seen it and decided it is friendly!
If you just have a rather excited dog then standing in front and simply saying “Thank You” is often enough to calm them down.
- Asking your visitor to ignore your dog and follow Golden Rule No.3 is crucial
- If your dog gets too excited, then you can always do a calm isolation
Train a Sit at the door
Teaching a Sit when the doorbell rings is more advanced and should be attempted only when you have achieved calm at the door otherwise you could be practicing for a long time.
- First practice with visitors that do not get your dog excited and then move up to the courier man!
- Make a clear area that your dog should stay in to help him recognize his boundary
- Remember to relief your dog with an “OK”