Monday, January 14, 2013

The door bell blues no more!

Does your dog go crazy every time the doorbell rings, or someone knocks at the door? Do your sleeping babies get woken up or you feel like your dog turns into Jekyll and Hyde?  If you are like me I don't mind a couple of barks (I used to call Roxy my long distance doorbell because she would let me know someone was either coming to the house or if my doorbell didn't work, that someone was at the house) however I don't like it when dogs get all worked up and won't calm down, and if my kids get woken up because my dog was barking at the door, I am in a really bad mood before I even open the door to see who it is.  So how do you get your dog to either stop barking when you ask, or only bark once to alert you, you ask?  Most of the time I have told people to ask a neighbor to come knock at your door, or do some sort of set up, but it takes time, and sometimes the most convenient time for you is not so convenient for others. So here is what you do...

Here is a link to a website that gives you sound bites of different knocks on different types of doors:

and here is one that has the same thing for doorbells:

You might have to scroll through some of them until you find the one(s) that set your dog off, but then you simply play and replay the knock or bell and click when your dog does what you want.  That way if you have 10 minutes while you are waiting for something, pull it up and do a little training with your dog.

If you want your dog to not bark at all when someone is at the door it is best to desensitize your dog to the sounds above.  Simply click when the doorbell is rung, or the knock has played. Do this for even 2 minutes and most dogs will begin to equate the doorbell with the click.  Most of the time your dog barks is because they are anxious when they hear the sound.  It means someone they don't know is coming to the house, possibly inside, and that makes them slightly apprehensive, or on the other hand, if your dog is overly excited when he doorbell rings, you will want to click when your dog is sitting nicely and not barking. (A yellow lab comes to mind, but there are plenty of others who might fall in this category as well)

If your dog falls into the "other hand" category, here is what you need to do.  Before you start playing your sounds start off your session by asking for the basics (and click and treat for them even if you don't normally, this will tell your dog hey I am willing to pay even for small things today) It will make you dog pay closer attention to you.  So ask for a sit/stay, maybe a small trick or two, then make sure your dog is paying close attention to you by moving just out of his line of vision and calling his name, if he looks or comes to you click and treat.  Now you are ready to start playing  your sounds.  Play it once, if Fido starts barking or jumps up and runs to the door, calmly ask for him to sit, or come and sit (don't click until he is doing what you asked).  Once he is calmer and sitting you can click and treat.  Repeat as often as you need until he understands when the doorbell rings or someone knocks it pays to stay calm. (then you also need to give him plenty of praise when he is doing it right after that, most of the time just a "good boy/girl is good enough)

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