MOST dog owners experience it. The craziness that happens when the doorbell rings.

The embarrassment at our apparent lack of control over our dogs as we open the door and the frenzy that ensues.

How can we fix this?  Firstly to buy a new doorbell to practice with, so a new sound and a new association. Do lots of training with it before you even fix the new doorbell to the front door. This and some form of a trained stay plus treats and patience.

Where you want your dog to go or be when someone rings the bell. Is it to go to another room, a crate, on their bed?

Before you start you need a management plan – i.e. what you are going to do while you are still going through the training steps and visitors actually arrive.

Shut your dog into another room as soon as the door goes, every time, do not let them practice what you don’t want anymore, at all! Put a note on the door to ask that people should  ring you and to not knock or ring the bell would be even better. 

 Step 1   You ring the new doorbell (ringer would be still inside the house and not fitted to the door at this point), treat to hand and guide your dog to where you want them to be. Repeat, lots!

Doing this teaches the dog that the command to go to that spot is the sound of the bell.

Step 2 repeat step 1 but without treat in hand, feed/reward them for going to where you want them but only reward when they are in their spot. Repeat!

Step 3  repeat step 2 but then once you have rewarded them, go to the door and open it ( no visitor) if your dog stays where it should rush back to them and reward them again. If they don’t you may need to add a stay command and work on this for a while.

Step 4  fix the new doorbell to your door – with a note to say please be patient and only ring once – dog in training. This is the hardest step and will take some work once people are actually at the door.  Ideally invite a friend over who can be your ‘bell ringer’ so you can practice…if your dog rushes toward the door, simply shut the door before they get there and guide them back to where they should be before returning to open the door.

This takes time and patience and you should be using very high value rewards as most dogs will find this hard – but not impossible and will enable you to avoid the embarrassment in future.

Don’t forget you can always email Sarah with your training problems –