Dogs go crazy when the doorbell rings

Posted by Taz
Feb 27, 2008

I'm a new member and joined looking for help with this problem. My two dogs go berserk when the doorbell rings-barking, jumping up at the door, etc. When I open the door they jump up on whoever is there whether or not they know the person. They both have basic training and walk together on the leash very well. However, when the doorbell rings they ignore my command to sit and stay. Any advice?
Posted by Blue
Feb 27, 2008
Hi Taz, I just posted a reply to a similar situation in another section of this forum! Not an uncommon problem!

It is probably best to include the assistance and involvement of other family members to garner best results, especially in the beginning of this training.

Try leashing your dogs when guests are expected to arrive, make them sit-stay away from the door (like 5-6' away). If they get up to come towards the door, reprimand them and put them back to where they were in a sit-stay. You should be focusing on your dogs during the early period of training - no matter how long it takes to get your guests inside. If you don't have anyone to help out by holding onto the leashes, try tying the dogs to a banister or some form of immovable structure near by, so they know they are not allowed near the door before you!

Your dog(s) should always be reprimanded for their bad behaviour. DO NOT yell, as this has no effect on a dominant dog. Growl instead, use a guttural growl like " AAHHH!" instead of "No!", as this makes a sharper sound then "No" (If done correctly it may hurt your throat a little). It may sound funny when you are growling at the dog, but you'd be amazed how much it works! I also include wide eye contact when my dog is ABOUT to cause a problem!

When the dogs are seated and quiet, open the door for the guests arriving and only allow the guests to greet your dogs when the dogs are calm and seated and after every human in the house has greeted the guests first. Try to make it clear to your guests that your dogs are in training and that they are to ignore the dogs until they are calm and seated, then the guests can call the dogs over to them for some affection.

This is probably more easily practiced if you ask some friends/family members come over for a visit - specifically so you can practice having visitors over a few times within a week - knowing they're coming over, so progress is made faster. By inviting them specifically for training you can explain the training to your guests before they even arrive - and let them know they may be waiting outside for a few minutes longer than normal.

Allowing your dogs to greet visitors first makes them the leaders in the pack, and they feel the need to protect their territory, and make you aware of intruders, so you have to control the behaviour and make sure you are first to greet/arrive at the door.

Another thing that may help is taking him for a long walk or play session just prior to guests arriving, this will tire him out somewhat and may make him more malleable to your commands and corrections.

Alpha training is also very important and may help your dogs respect your leadership and commands more. Here are some important points on alpha training provided by the folks of Kingdom of Pets:

1) If you come across your dog while he is sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making him move away from where you want to go, no the other way around.

2) Make sure that you always go through doorways first. Try reinforcing your position as alpha dog is to walk your dog around the house on the leash, making your dog wait while you walk through doorways first.

3) At mealtimes make sure that your dog or dogs eat after all of the humans have.

4) When your dog wants to go outside for a walk, make it sit and wait until you are ready to go.

I've also found it extremely effective, if the dog is not allowed on couches, beds or any furniture that humans use. Our dog is also not allowed to be near the dining table during dinners, she usually sleeps on her bed or in an adjoining room where she can see us.

I also suggest working on their obedience - in particular sit stay, intensively while training for the door - this will improve their knowledge of what sit-stay is, and that for good behaviour, they will be rewarded!

I hope this was useful!
Best of luck, and post any more questions you may have along the way!