Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 1: Door Bell = Crazy Dog

Basil's mom (& disciplinary) here.

Today, I read all sorts of information online as to how to train your dog to stop from getting all kaaraazy when the door bill rings or when someone knocks on the door. One thing I read that was interesting is that some dogs don't get all barky until they reach adolescence. Here I was blaming his cousins, but maybe it was a coincidence. It's about the same time that Basil was becoming a teenager.

Goal: After one bark, we want Basil to back down away from the door. We want him to "stay" away from the door until we "release" him and then he can appropriately greet the visitor. We don't want him to get into a frenzy everytime the door bell rings or if a neighbor knocks on the door. One difficulty is that we really didn't train him to "stay" very well so we need to work on that.

Treats: I didn't understand the whole giving him a treat thing at the door. That to me sounded like you're reinforcing the undesired behavior. Then I read that you treat him when he is quiet and calm. Use little pieces of dry food or training treats.

Today, we started with knocking on the door. That seemed to be the less severe of the two. I did as I the information I read online. I sat with Basil and ignored the undesired behavior. When he was quiet, praise him for being "good quiet" and then give him a treat immediately. Keep repeating. Keith kept knocking at the door every 20 seconds or so and I would just keep praising Basil when he was quiet. If Basil ran to the door, I would gently and in a calm voice call him to come back to me and away from the door. If he barks, acknowledge and thank him for lettting you know that someone is there, and then point him away from the door.

We changed up the severity of the knocking but always knocked the same way ie. "knock knock knock" as most the neighbors do. The treats seemed to distract him enough that he didn't care as much about the knocking after a while. I could tell he acknowledged the knocking but then immediately looked to me for the treat and stayed sitting. Excellent!

We will keep doing this for another couple of days (Basil picks things up pretty fast).

Does your dog get all caarraaazy when the door bell rings? Do you have any other tips?

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