Other Options To Consider

There are many other creative options for programming or modifying doorbell behavior.


There are many other creative options for programming or modifying doorbell behavior.

Here are three:

  1. Try changing your doorbell sound. If your dog has a very strong emotional response to the existing doorbell, it will be easier to give her a new association with a new sound. Don’t actually use it as your new doorbell until you’ve conditioned a very positive response for your dog (or trained her to perform an appropriate operant behavior in response to the new chime). When your training is completed, then substitute the new doorbell in place of the current one.
  2. Get a toy: You can teach your dog that the doorbell is her cue to run to fetch a toy. You can toss the toy for her to fetch (have her offer a sit first!), and thus focus her energies on the toy instead of the doorbell or your guests. You can also teach her to take the toy to your visitors, and construct a polite greeting behavior that includes sitting until they toss the toy for her.
  3. Treat ‘n Train: This unique remote treat-delivery gadget was developed by veterinary behaviorist Sophia Yin for a variety of training and behavior applications, including door manners! The concept is simple. When you push a button, the unit beeps and delivers a treat. Your dog makes the classical association between the “beep” and treat, and quickly learns (operantly) to run to the machine when she hears the beep. The beep becomes the cue to run to the machine.

    Then add the doorbell as the new cue to run to the machine, as in Step 4 of the “mostly operant” approach, above. Ring the doorbell, beep the beep, and the machine delivers. When the doorbell alone sends your dog to the machine, fade the beep cue by utilizing the “mute” feature of the remote: you press the button to deliver a treat but no beep occurs; the doorbell alone sends your dog to the machine for her treat. Gradually increase your dog’s distance from the machine so the doorbell sends her running to her Treat ‘n Train from anywhere in the house.

For more training tips and advice on how to keep your dog from jumping up on people, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook Stop Jumping.