We frequently answer a lot of behavior questions from our clients who are frustrated about particular things their pets do. Our technician, Josh, is interested in behavior and has a lot of helpful hints for you in different situations. Josh has learned a lot by following Cesar Millan and the advice that he gives. Keep reading to learn where this behavior comes from and how to prevent it.
Dogs who aggressively bark at the doorbell could be caused by you! If you yell, grab or scream at your dog, you might be making the situation worse. Try to understand it from your dog’s point of view. When the doorbell rings they are thinking, “my human will attack me (verbally or by grabbing me) when the doorbell rings,” and that is not the idea you want them to have.
Use the doorbell as a practice tool with other family members or friends, but you want to associate it with something calm and pleasant for your dog. If your dogs are already trained to sit calmly before receiving treats from you, you’re halfway there.
What you need to do is get them to sit calmly for a treat first, and then ring the doorbell. If they do not react to it, they get the treat. If they do react, redirect them with the smell of the treat (but don’t give it to them yet), get them to sit calmly and wait, then repeat the process. In this way, you will teach them that the doorbell equals treat, but only if they sit calmly. You’ll also want everyone in the house to have treats on them at first, so that when the doorbell rings at random they can reward the dogs that comply right away. When you are unable to control this situation when people are coming over, then don’t allow them to practice failure and just simply put them in another room or outside. Remember consistency is the key!
Eventually, you’ll be able to do away with the treats. Finally, if you have more than one dog; focus on the most dominant one in the training; this will help you in training more than one dog at once.
Information adapted from Cesar’s Way (www.cesarsway.com)