Instructor: Nancy Tucker
Does the entrance to your home become a chaotic scene when someone knocks or rings the doorbell? This course is all about the many ways to teach your dog how to greet visitors with class and charm. No more scrambling to wrangle your dog from the doorway to keep him from jumping up or (oops!) slipping out through the open door. We'll bring barking down to the bare minimum or maybe even - dare we say it - down to nothing!
We'll include tackling the challenges of door-greeting chaos in multi-dog households.
This course focuses on your dog's door-greeting behaviour inside your home.
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: This course is for dogs who are excited and happy to see visitors, and is not intended for dogs who may exhibit fearful or aggressive behaviours towards visitors (such as lunging, snapping, or biting).
Next session starts: August 1, 2018Registration starts: July 22, 2018Registration ends: August 15, 2018
Registration will begin at 9:30 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Silver level for this class is offered as "Working Silver". In addition to asking GENERAL clarification questions about the class lecture materials, silver students will now have the opportunity to submit two short videos, one minute each, for critique and review. You may submit two questions. Each question MUST have a one minute video attached so the instructor can actually answer a question that they can see. The question must relate to a topic in the class and the video must be a demo of the question. Please see the discussion forum for a detailed explanation - feel free to sign up at bronze, read the explanation, and then come back here to upgrade to silver if that interests you, and if space is available.
If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
Setting up the environment during the training process:
- Management plans for safety and to prevent practicing old behaviours
Multiple dogs – a word before you get started:
- More management
- Who’s the instigator?
- Your multi-dog training plan
Triggers – Doorbells and knocks
- How to desensitize or counter-condition
- A new cue! Using the trigger to your advantage
How Do I Train Thee, Let Me Count the Ways – Options galore!
- “Find it”
- “Touch” (nose target)
- “Sit to greet”
- “4 on the floor”
- “Go to your greeting station” (item target)
- “Go get a toy”
- “Get in your crate” (location target)
- and emergency plan
- Training the behaviour – the first steps
- Adding a verbal cue for the new behaviour
- Adding context – training the behaviour in the main door area
- Adding the “trigger” as a cue
- Adding difficulty – training the behaviour with you entering through the door
- Adding difficulty – training the behaviour with another familiar person entering through the door
- Adding difficulty – training the behaviour with a stranger at the door
Dealing with excited or submissive peeing
Some of the exercises will require the help of other people to play the role of "visitors". Plan on recruiting help from a person or people your dog is familiar with. For more advanced exercises, a stranger at the door would be nice (someone your dog doesn't know)! Feel free to use this class as an excuse to shop online to take advantage of package deliveries. Also... to order lots of take-out food. Just kidding! Friends, family, and neighbours will do just fine.
Basic skills such as “Down” or “Come” are mighty helpful, but not mandatory.
Barriers such as baby gates may be very useful, but are not mandatory.
101 (or maybe 3) THINGS TO DO WITH A DOORBELL
(NOTE: Everything below will also apply to the sound of someone knocking at the door)
The doorbell. Ugh. If anything can cause the most canine pandemonium with the least amount of effort, it’s the common doorbell. Dogs are not the only ones affected by that sound. It generates an immediate response in us, too. We jump to attention because “They’re here!”, or “Who’s that? I’m not expecting anyone…” Either way, it prompts us into action.
In other words, there’s nothing relaxing about the sound of a doorbell. It announces an imminent event. It’s never “nothing”.
Except when it’s on TV. In which case, it means nothing…. But many of our dogs don’t know that, as is evidenced by a sudden bark-fest with dogs flying off the couch and trotting around the house with googly eyes and ears pinned back.
So what can you do about the doorbell? It can be difficult to teach your dog a calm and polite door-greeting behaviour when the doorbell sets him off so dramatically (in a good way… here we’re talking about dogs who are happy and excited to greet someone at the door, rather than fearful or aggressive). There are a few ways we can address this:
Disconnect the doorbell. Or cover it up with some tape, or maybe a note that instructs visitors not to ring it. Problem solved… at least partially. But you’ll still need to deal with the unpredictable TV doorbell.
This involves teaching your dog that the sound of the doorbell no longer signifies anything important, and therefore he doesn’t need to respond to it.
Because this class doesn’t address any fearful or aggressive behaviours with regards to door greetings, we won’t need to help our dogs change a negative association with the doorbell into a positive one. This would involve desensitization or counter-conditioning. But we don’t need these two, because the dogs in this course are happy and excited to greet people, not fearful or anxious.
Habituation, however, can be very helpful in this situation. See below for some tips on how you might apply this.
3. Creating a new cue
This is my personal preference. You can convert the sound of the doorbell into a handy new signal that means “now is the time to do the thing I taught you to do when someone enters our home”. That’s what a “cue” is – it doesn’t tell your dog what to do, it just tells him when to do a particular behaviour that he already knows.
Which is why we always need to first spend time teaching the behaviour we want, making sure to reinforce it heavily so that our dog thinks it’s a very good idea to do that behaviour. Then we add the cue, which in this case is the doorbell, or the sound of someone knocking.
(*register for the course to read more...)