Doorbell SIT

You will want your dog to learn to \J I sj • patiently hold a SIT when people enter your house. Begin by teaching your dog to SIT (at a generous distance from the door) while you walk away from him and toward the door. Walk back to your dog and praise him for remaining in a SIT.

The next step involves desensitizing • your dog to the door opening. Have your dog SIT directly in front of the door and keep the leash in your hand so you can provide immediate feedback. Open the door. If your dog breaks the SIT, correct with NO and re-command SIT. Praise for success. Repeat the exercise until your dog can ignore the door opening three times in a row.

Return your dog to a SIT in a remote location, walk to the door, and open it. If your dog gets up, give a verbal NO. If he SITS, praise. If he continues to walk towards you, take the leash and silently relocate him back to his spot, leash correct with NO, and re-command SIT. Repeat this process until your dog is desensitized to the door opening.

Once your dog is desensitized to the door opening, add a person at the other side of the door. Have your dog SIT. Walk over to the door and open it. Tell your visitor, "Wait please." Return to your dog's side and control the leash. Invite your visitor inside the house. Only allow the person to enter if your dog maintains a SIT (obviously the person helping you is prepared for the exercise and knows what to do). If your dog gets up, correct with NO and re-command SIT.

C CjCj You will need to add a knock on the \J mm* door or the doorbell as the final distraction piece to the puzzle. This part will stimulate your dog the most. HEEL your dog through the house. Have a helper ring the doorbell or knock on the door. When your dog reacts to the stimulus, divert with NO and redirect with HEEL (plus praise). HEEL will be easier than SIT or DOWN because HEEL requires more momentary thinking than either of the stationary commands. When your dog can ignore the doorbell in HEEL, try SIT.

Whether you are performing the • desensitization exercises or actually greeting someone at the door, keep the vocal cue the same. Don't panic and introduce sentences like "Come on now, you know how to do this," as it will only confuse your dog and make it more difficult for him to succeed. Use crisp, clear commands exactly as you learned and practiced them.

If you repeat this process every time someone comes to the door, your dog's greeting manners will improve. Slowly decrease the distance to the door. If your dog shows signs of backsliding, move further away. Always practice the desensitization exercises for door opening and knock/bell as part of your distraction-training workout.

The previous exercises are specific

• to teaching your dog how to behave when someone arrives at the door. The actual process of teaching a dog to greet a person will be outlined in chapter 9.

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