You may be someone who is dealing with reactivity at the front door. This is no fun, and I want you to be careful. Reactivity at the front door can potentially lead to another problem, which is called “redirected aggression.” In other words, this is when your dog is at the front door reacting badly and you try to go put your hands on them, there’s a good chance you may actually get bit. Your dog doesn’t intend to bite you, it’s just something in their head at that particular moment. They aren’t turning on you, but it is time to get this thing under control.
The first tip I want to share is to not try to solve this in the moment your dog is becoming reactive. You’re going to have to actually train proactively for some time to begin to solve this problem. If you follow me, you’ve probably heard me talk about “place training.” However, I’m going to come at this from a slightly different angle.
You know I love those elevated beds, but I saw something a few days ago in my client’s home I thought would be useful. A lot of folks have a rug in their entryway, and it’s one that feels substantially different from the floor it’s on. After you get your training collar and leash, you’ll need some high-value food along with that rug. If you don’t have a rug, you can use their bed too. You first will teach your dog how good it is to get onto the rug or the bed, and great it is to get into a down there. I really want you to thoroughly reinforce your dog while they’re there.
As you go through this process for a few minutes, showing your dog how good it is to get on there and how amazing it is to lay down, I want you to have your leash in hand and try to tempt your dog to come off the bed by throwing a piece of food a few feet away. The moment they step off, you have a leash on them you use to put them back. I want you to give your dog as many opportunities as they need to come off and not be able to get the food.
What you shouldn’t do is prevent your dog from taking that step off of the bed or rug. When you do this exercise, you’re showing your dog where that boundary is and it will also help them understand how they get the reinforcement from you. Train like this for a couple of days.
My second tip is to begin to create circumstances very similar to the ones your dog is likely to bark in. When you create those circumstances, you need to be fully prepared with your leash, your high-value food, and the ability to lead your dog over to the place before it starts. Then, allow your dog to decide to stay on to receive the reward, or if it’s going to come off and lose the reward, and then have you use the leash to put them back.
Here’s a third tip I think will be useful. You can use your TV or some sort of device to play sounds that will trigger your dog to make them come off the place. When they do come off, you’re going to be able to teach them to get back onto their place, and if they do that you’ll be able to reward them for staying there.
I hope this was useful for you, Happy Training!