Going mad at door

Posted by jb1958
Aug 24, 2011
Im new and this is my first post. We have a 20 month westie x. Whenever the doorbell rings he goes mad and runs to the door jumping up and barking. Its really hard to open the door and have to either pick him up and put him in another room or just pick him up to answer the door.
He also does it when the newspaper arrives or the post arrives grabbing it out of the letterbox.
Would love some ideas of how to stop this
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 25, 2011
Hey jb1958,

How long have you had your dog? Is this a new behaviour, or one thats been around and you're just fed up with it?

The most basic way of training dogs out of this sort of behaviour is to use a combo of time outs and desensitization.

Time out:
Anytime someone comes to the door and your dog starts acting up, your dog immediately goes into a quiet room by himself. Leave him there until he's calm, then let him out again. If he comes out barking, say a firm "no", and immediately put him back in time out to try again. I know you said you've had to put him in other rooms, but if you're doing that half the time and carrying him to the door the other half, its not effective as a training/teaching tool. My dog used to bark at our front gate when people went by, and I used this method (tied him up in his kennel in the backyard) and it worked wonders for him! It didn't take him long to catch on either, so hopefully it works for your westie!

As far as the paper goes, you need to stop his accessing the box without someone supervising him. He is not allowed to go to the letterbox/driveway once the paper is out, unless you or a family member is with him. When you go out with him to get the paper, try keeping him on a lead at first, so you can control his approach to the paper. If he rushes and tries to grab it, give the lead a sharp tug (without hurting him), and say no. Ask him to sit, then YOU get the paper. If he sits the entire time you're picking it up, good boy!! Lots of praise and pats. If he gets up, tug again, say no, and tell him to sit again. It might take some patience from you, and lots of repetition - you might have to spend 10-15 minutes getting the paper for a while - but its worth it if you want him to stop! Eventually, take him with you without the lead. Tell him to sit like usual. He should respond well. If he backtracks, go back to using the lead and try again later. Sooner or later you should be able to trust him not to go for it

Hope this advice makes sense and is helpful. Let us know how things go!
Posted by jb1958
Aug 25, 2011
We have had Harley living with us for 6 months and he has always been the same. The trouble is he is so quick that when the doorbell rings he gets there before us. You cant get him away from the door so you have to pick him up and answer or pick him up and put him in another room before you answer the door.
Its not really possible to deny him access to the front door or he would have to be locked in one room most of the time.

With the post and newspaper problem we live in the UK so the letterbox is in the front door not separate. Again he always get theres first and jumps up and snatches them out. He then leaves them so hes not actually chewing them up or anything just sometimes get a few teeth marks
Again its really difficult to deny him access to the door.

Will definately try putting him in a room for a timeout when he does it and not let him out until he clams down. At the moment we are letting him out straight away.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 26, 2011
Hi again,

I know it sounds like a pain, but is there a way you can block the front door with baby gates or something similar? Just a structure that you can step over, but will keep him a certain distance away from the door? This way you can work on both problems - he cant get to the paper, and you can stop him before the door to take him to time out.

I hope the time outs help - I've seen great results using that kind of training with many dogs, so I'm sure you'll see results.