Teach Your Dog to Stay at the Door | Teacher's Pet With Victoria Stilwell

Uploaded by eHowPets on 10.08.2012

One of the more frustrating behavior issues that people have with their dogs is that when
the doorbell rings or someone comes into their home, the dog takes the opportunity to run
out to the door or jump up on someone, as they're coming into the home. I'm going to
show you, today, how to teach your dog to stay in one place when the doorbell rings
and someone comes into your place. It doesn't matter what kind of position your dog is staying
in: Standing up, sitting down or lying down is absolutely fine, as long as your dog is
comfortable. The first part of this process is to back away. I use a hand signal along
with a vocal cue. Stay. Good boy. I don't reward Nathan until I'm right back with him,
because I don't want to break his stay. As Nathan is still complying, I'm now gonna do
this again. And the next time, I'm gonna take it up a level by actually putting my hand
on the door and rattling the door knob. Normally, when you rattle a door knob, this is the signal
that the door is going to open. So a lot dogs will break their stay, because they're excited
about either getting out the door or about who's coming in through the door. Again, lure
your dog back onto the mat, get him to stay and repeat the process. Nathan's now chosen
to lie down, which is absolutely fine, because he's still staying on his mat. Stay. I am
now rattling the door knob. A lot dogs, when they hear the rattle of the door knob that's
the cue that either the door is gonna open, and then they can dash out, or that somebody's
outside. A lot of dogs, at this point, will break their stay. But because Nathan is still
staying there, and he's being really, really good, I'll go back to him and reward him.
Good boy. Okay. Because he's doing really well, I can move up to the next level, which
is opening the door a little bit. Again, if you're dog breaks their stay at this point,
just lure him back onto his mat and repeat the process. Stay. Good boy. Good boy. Stay.
I'll repeat this a couple of times. Each time the door opens, Nathan looks at me, because
now he's looking at me for the cue. Good boy. Stay. Each time I open the door, I'm opening
it a bit wider. Good boy. Because he's doing really well, I can move up to the next level,
which is to open the door really wide and take a step back from the door. Now, at this
point, Nathan just decided, well, he had enough. He decided to walk away. I'm not gonna tell
him off. I'm not gonna punish him. I'm just gonna wait for him to come back to the mat
and just allow him to settle. Because the most important thing is that the dog is thinking.
If your dog decides that they just want a little break from the training, allow them
to have that break. It's your dog's way of saying: Okay, I've done quite a lot, now I
just need to either walk away, or I need to get a drink of water, or I need to go hang
out, I need to lie down a little bit -- just go with the flow. The most important part
of this process is really not to impose your will upon your dog, not to punish your dog
if you're dog doesn't do well, but just really allow your dog to think and to learn, because
Nathan's in this learning process right at this moment. Good boy. Stay. Now I'm going
to open the door and take a step away from it. Stay. Good boy. Yes, excellent. Good boy.
Good boy, okay. Okay. "Okay" is a release word that I use to release the dog off the
mat. The next stage of this training is to have somebody ring the doorbell. Now, as soon
as the doorbell is wrung, that's normally a trigger for a dog that somebody is gonna
come into their home. Some dogs are very excited about it, and some dogs are very nervous about
it. Whatever your dog feels when the doorbell goes, the doorbell certainly will encourage
your dog, probably, to go to the door to investigate who's gonna come through it. And it makes
this whole process a lot harder. When I open the door there's gonna be nobody outside.
And this is, again, building up steps until we can get to the point where the doorbell
rings, and there's actually somebody outside there. So I have somebody ringing the doorbell
but hiding around the side of the door, so Nathan can't see him, so it make it easier
for Nathan to be successful. When you build up this cue in stages, it's much easier for
the dog to learn. Stay. I'm going to reenforce, again, just by opening the door. Good boy.
Good boy. Nice. Now I'm going to get Richard to ring the doorbell -- can you ring the doorbell?
As you can see, as soon as that doorbell rang, Nathan became really highly charged. It was
as if all this adrenaline went through his body: "Who's at the door?" At this stage of
the process, when the dog gets a little bit frustrated or maybe protective of the house
or excited, don't do anything at all -- just wait. So when Nathan is calm, I'm just going
to call him to me and go through the process again. Nathan, come. Good. Good boy. Stay.
Good boy. Ring the doorbell again. Nathan is quite a protective dog -- he's quite territorial.
But, again, I'm not gonna do anything. Sit, good. Stay. Good. Ring the doorbell again.
Stay. Good. Now that was hard for him. The doorbell rang, and he didn't move. He did
one bark, and he didn't move. That was very good. That's why I rewarded him for doing
that. But now, still, he has that desire to investigate: "Who's gonna come into my house?"
"Where did that sound come from?" And again, I'm just going to wait until he focuses enough
to be able to come back to me. Good boy. Stay. Good. I'm gonna open the door, and again,
there's gonna be nobody outside. Good. Good. You're gonna ring the doorbell again. Stay.
Good. Very good. Alright. Now, you're going to ring the doorbell again, and you're also
gonna be there at the door. If I tell you can come through, come through. The only time
that you can come through is when Nathan is still on his mat and staying, alright? So
ring the doorbell. Stay. Good boy. Okay, you can come in. Hi. Stay. Here. Okay, go out
again. Good boy. Good boy. Nathan. Sit, good boy. Stay. Okay, ring the bell. Stay. Stay.
Now you can come in. Stay. Good boy. Come in. Stay. Good boy, okay. Okay, you can go
say hi. Hi. Good boy, alright. This cue is vital to teach your dog, because a lot of
dogs like to dash out at the door, or a lot dogs like to jump up on people as they come
in. If you give your dog something else to do when the doorbell rings, they have a ritual
of behavior like: I have to got to my mat and stay there until I'm released, until the
person comes in, and I can go and say hi. That means that your dog is now focusing on
a positive behavior rather than negative behavior of barking, going up to the door and possibly
jumping on the person as they come in. If you have a multi-dog household, this cue can
be harder to teach. But you can have success by teaching each dog separately than putting
them together. Dogs learn much better when they're learning by themselves with less distractions
around them. And that's how you teach your dog to stay at the door, positively. I'm Victoria
Stilwell for eHow Pets.