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Stop Dog Jumping at the Door

by Anne-Marie Mayes

 

I recently did an in home lesson for a family with multiple dogs who were struggling with their dog jumping on visitors at the door. This is a common issue and I want to share how we worked through it in this situation. When you have multiple dogs, they learn from each other both good and bad habits. This means more work with training individually and then together. 


First we have Molly, a young adult dog who was barking and jumping on people at the door. The puppy, Odie, was starting to learn this behaviour and also needed some work with crate training. The owner was having trouble getting work done having to micromanage the dogs all day.


I am going to summarize how we trained and worked through the issues.  I requested that Molly was on leash, treats were ready, and the puppy was in another area so the training could begin the moment I arrived at their home. 


When I knocked on the door I could hear barking, and when the owner opened the door Molly began to pull on leash and lunge towards me so I asked the owner to do a u turn with the dog away from the door and treat when the dog arrived at her hip. We did a few repetitions until Molly was calmer in her approach, then I had her do a hand target (I wanted her to focus on my hand instead of jumping on me).  Once Molly touched my hand, the owner called Molly away to reward. At this point Molly was no longer interested in me and was now focusing on her owner.


I wanted to try a second training option (there is always more then one way to teach) so I went back outside this time when I knocked, the owner did a u turn and did a search cue - tossing the treat away from the door.    Molly quite enjoyed the search cue and ignored me totally while looking for treats. At this point we brought Odie into the training so the owner could practice with 2 dogs.


I had brought a helper with me so I would be able to help the owner train inside while someone came to the door.  The helper knocked at the door, the owner asked the dogs to search away from the door and once the dogs moved away, the owner answered the door the helper came inside.  The dogs were so busy searching they were not concerned about the person at the door. 


Next we worked on having the dogs stay or go to mat while the owner walked toward the door and eventually let the helper in. Practicing a variety of approaches to train and manage the issue helped give the owners some options as each situation will be different. We practiced at different doors and with the dogs being farther back from the door. The routine of answering the door needs to be practiced multiple times with different people before the dogs would stay back, away from the door waiting for their treats rather than barking and jumping at visitors.  

 

Next article will discuss training Odie to be comfortable in the crate whether the owner is home or not 

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