Doggie Door Manners
To begin training your dog to have good door manners, start with nobody at your front door. (The 'guest-less' door!)
It's much easier to train your dog without a guest actually there, when our focus is more on what-to-do with our
dog, than when we are worrying about our guest's reactions.
Put a leash on your dog, letting him drag it around. Walk away from your dog and casually "knock" on
your own door. (On the inside of the house) No matter how your dog reacts, ask your dog to sit. Do not attempt
to open the door until he sits.
When your dog sits, reach for the knob. Still sitting? If not, move your hand from the knob and tell your dog,
No and re-command him to sit. Once your dog will sit with your hand on the doorknob, open the door. If your dog
rises, close the door! Have your dog sit (again).
*Remember to calmly praise your dog for sitting — every learning session needs to be rewarding or the dog may not
be motivated to continue.
A few key points:
The door does not stay open unless your dog holds his sit.
Repeat the sequence (knock, sit/wait) until your dog can hold his sit with the door open. The door
shutting is a consequence, the door staying open is a reward.
Once you see your dog through the whole sequence successfully, praise your dog, but don't go bananas.
We want your dog to stay calm during a greeting situation.
time for the real stuff. You've (hopefully) practiced this with your dog over and over and you can see he's really
getting the picture. Invite a friend to come and knock on your door. (One who won't mind doing this over and over!)
The sequence is exactly the same as before. If your dog holds his sit, the door opens, if he gets up, the door
closes (yes, with the guest OUTside). Once he holds his sit while the guest is standing outside the door, remind
him to sit and invite your guest in. If he holds his sit, calmly instruct him to "ok, go see" or "ok,
say hello" by guiding your hand toward your guest from your dog's head.
It is completely reasonable and "fair" to keep your foot on your dog's leash when he is practicing sitting
while the guest enters. It is NOT fair to expect your dog to do this without practice. If he's not ready, tether
him or crate when guests are arriving. Build on success, not mistakes! Good Luck and Good Manners!