How to Train a Dog to Stay When the Doorbell Rings
The Greeting Spot
As many dog trainers will tell you, having a dog of your own makes you an amateur dog trainer to a certain degree. It is up to the owner to introduce what he would consider appropriate behaviors to his dog. We’ll cover how to teach your dog the appropriate behaviors of using a greeting spot.
What is the Greeting Spot?
A greeting spot is the area you prefer your dog to be in when any doors in the house are opened. This behavior is most useful when guests come over. Whether the door is opening for your family or guests, we can all agree we’d prefer a calm dog.
Creating a greeting spot for your dog will help with many different aspects of dog training. It can be used to help teach new dog obedience cues, such as “sit,” “down” and “stay.” It can also help to curb what many would consider problem behaviors like jumping or running out an open door.
How to Create the Greeting Spot
Find a Comfortable Area
Before beginning the introduction of the greeting spot, there are a few prerequisites to consider. You’ll need to make the area comfortable for your dog. If the dog is not comfortable in his greeting spot, there is a less likely chance this training will be successful when the door opens.
Choose an area of your home that would make the best permanent greeting spot. Make sure it’s far enough from any door so your dog can focus better on you and the idea of the reward more than what will be happening at the door.
It should also be close enough to something that you can tether your dog to, such as a doorknob or heavy table leg. This ensures your dog will be kept in place when first introduced to it and he won’t have the option to leave the area.
Place His Favorite Treats There
The idea is to make staying in the greeting spot more rewarding for your dog than running to the door. It will be up to what your dog finds rewarding so always keep in mind the things your dog is most interested in. In most cases, the best reward is an edible treat.
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After you find a high value reward for your dog, you can begin introducing the “sit,” “down” and “stay” behaviors. These cues will be needed while introducing him to the greeting spot.
Practice Dog Obedience Cues
Now it’s time to set up a training scenario to introduce the required behavior. With the dog tethered to his greeting spot in the “down” position, have a family member or friend ring the doorbell. When first introducing the ringing doorbell, it’s not necessary to have anyone enter the door. In the beginning, it’s normal for your dog to stand and bark in the direction of the door.
Lure your dog into the “sit” and then into the “down” position. Remember to reward and praise him as soon as he assumes the appropriate position. Once he can remain positioned in his area and respond to cues at least 90 percent of the requested time, you can start having someone enter your home after ringing the doorbell.
The visitor can also approach your dog and ask for the “sit” and “stay” behavior. Make sure you properly reward your dog when he falls into position. Continue to do this exercise until your dog can perform the behavior at least 90 percent of the time.
It’s important to always stay consistent with this type of training. If you can continuously make it more rewarding for him to stay than bark, you can successfully train your dog to go to his greeting spot as soon as he hears the doorbell or door open in the future.
Important Things to Remember
Don’t work beyond your dog’s capabilities. It is better to introduce things slowly and work on it until your dog is successful a majority of the time. If he continues to bark when someone enters your house, go back to only having someone knock or ring the doorbell. Once he displays calm behavior, you can have someone enter the house again.