Why bother with visitor training?
Getting into a good routine right away pays dividends down the road. You and your dog will both know what to do, and your guests won’t get jumped on, spooked, or worse – bitten! Let’s train our dogs to run to a specific spot when there is a knock on the door (or the doorbell rings). This will also prevent a door-darting situation!
How to prepare:
- Place a sign on your door or near the doorbell that says “Dog in training. Please be patient.” – this will buy you a little time to do the training in real-life situations without feeling stressed about the visitor who is waiting.
- Arm yourself with small, high-value treats that your dog loves. Keep these in a treat pouch around your waist, or in a secure container near the front door where your dog cannot access them. Choose a mat/towel that you can easily move. You will not need to use this one forever, however, you will need the same one for every step of the training.
- Choose where you would like your dog to go when there is a knock at the door. The mat should end up in a place where your dog can be confined temporarily when there is a knock on the door. That means space should be a crate (if your dog is happily crate-trained), a room with a functioning door, or a room with a doorway where a baby gate can be securely installed.
- First, practice without guests.
Note: If your dog has reactive, fearful, or aggressive tendencies towards people, ensure that you manage the environment to the highest degree to prevent an incident where the visitor is bitten, or where your dog is pushed past their threshold and is barking/lunging. The safest option is to place your dog in a puppy-proofed room with a door before you answer the front door, preventing your dog from rehearsing the unwanted behaviour. Seek professional help if this is you. Check out our Cranky Canine
program for this specific behaviour challenge.
Follow these steps and pay no attention to any barking or unwanted behaviours (unless they are dangerous) – they will dissipate with practice.
Check out our Live Training replay video from November 18th, 2020: