A common problem with younger dogs, or even those who are just settling into a new house, is their reaction to people knocking on the door. This can range between wild barking, yelping or even biting when your dog gets far too excited. Of course, this is particularly relevant around Halloween when you have a lot of Trick or Treaters out and about!
To prepare your pooch for an abundance of doorbell ringing and door knocking, have a read of our brief guide outlining how you can keep them calm during Halloween.
Get them to stay when you go to the door
Start off by practicing getting them to stay whilst you move towards the door. Initially they will become excited by you potentially opening it and seeing someone new, so it’s best to be firm and ensure they are sitting or staying while you stand next to the door. If they have remained still and not whimpered, then remember to always praise this good behaviour once you’ve returned from the door and are standing next to them. This may take a lot of practice, but this first step is vital before you continue.
Open the door and repeat
The next step is either grabbing the handle and jiggling it as if you’re about to open the door, or opening the door whilst your dog can see. Again, make sure they sit or stay in the same place and start again if they bark or move from their position. If they have behaved well, remember to give them a treat and lots of praise.
Try getting someone to knock on the door
This next one will be the clincher, but it will train your dog to remain calm when there is an actual person at the door. Arrange for a friend or family member to come and knock on the door or ring the doorbell and do exactly as before. This time you may get an excited reaction from them and it might be tough to make them sit or stay.
If they are barking or going crazy, don’t move for the door until they have stopped completely. This will mean your friend or relative might have to be a bit patient (perhaps practice on a day when it isn’t raining!), but it will make sure that your dog understands the door will only be opened once they have calmed down.
Keep them sitting
Answer the door once the dog has calmed, or has remained sitting. Try both having a conversation with the friend or relative at the door, and inviting them in before allowing your dog to move from the sitting position. This will mean that whatever ‘real life’ situation comes up, your dog still remains calm throughout.
This will take a lot of practice performing different scenarios, but eventually your dog will associate the doorbell or door being knocked on as the opportunity to get a treat.
Try it on Halloween!
Hopefully your training will have paid off when answering the door to Trick or Treaters, and you can not only treat the children at your door, but also your dog once they have been so well-behaved!
For even more great tips on dog behaviour and training, head over to the Simpsons Premium Advice Centre. If you want to stock up on treats for your dog prior to Halloween, why not try our new Air-Dried Treats range today?
Happy Halloween to you and your devilish dog!