During the holiday season, many people have guests over to their homes. If your home is anything like mine - when anyone knocks on the door or rings the bell, it can cause a chorus of barking, whining, and just a whole lot of chaos. My dog just gets really excited and wants to be the FIRST to say hello to whoever is coming to visit HER. Now, if your company isn't very partial to dogs, this can be an overwhelming and even scary experience.
To keep you, your dog and your guests from freaking out whenever they come over - here are some tips to keep your dog calm.
Perfect the "Stay" Command
When friends and family visit, it's really important that your pup understand the meaning of stay. Pick a designated stay spot for whenever anyone rings the doorbell. Make sure to practice this - and not just with people you live with. It's important to switch up the people who practice the doorbell stay, so your dog understands they need to behave whenever anyone comes over.
Have your helper ring the doorbell multiple times, once your dog relaxes and stops barking - reward them. This is the perfect time to bring out the good stuff - for my dog it's special chicken jerky. Positive reinforcement is always welcome.
Don't yell at your dog
It's easy to get frustrated and want your dog to listen but to them, when you yell it's like you're joining in on the fun. Keep calm and speak firmly but quietly.
Make barking at the door an unpleasant experience
If you've practiced over and over, and have given your dog 'the good stuff' for positive reinforcement - but it STILL isn't working... try making the experience unpleasurable for them. A spray bottle is perfect for this situation. Similar to bitter apple to prevent puppies from teething, spraying a little water in their face when they charge the door can deter your dog from the urge.
Train your visitors on when and how to say hello to your dog
It's important that your visitors know to ignore any bad behavior and to only say hello when your pup is calm. Make sure they don't greet or pet if your dog if he is jumping or barking. Having a welcoming spot for visitors to greet your dog is a great way to reinforce positive behavior. This can be your stay spot, a mat, bed or even just a spot in your house. For us, it's the couch. Give a little, take a little, right?
With some patience and practice, your doorbell terrorizer can turn into a polite pooch in no time.