Mastering Doorbell Desensitization: A Step-by-Step Guide
Does your dog go from calm to a barking, jumping whirlwind every time the doorbell rings? If so, you're not alone. Many dog owners face this common challenge, especially during the holiday season when guests come and go more frequently. The good news is that with the right training, you can help your dog stay calm and composed when the doorbell chimes. Welcome to our step-by-step guide to mastering doorbell desensitization.
Understanding the Doorbell Desensitization Process
Doorbell desensitization is the process of teaching your dog to remain calm and relaxed when the doorbell rings or when guests arrive. It's a valuable skill that not only ensures a peaceful entrance but also sets a positive tone for any interaction your dog has with visitors.
Doorbell = Excitement
We've inadvertently taught our dogs that when the doorbell rings, it's time to go crazy! It might seem counterintuitive, as we often react by shouting, chasing, and trying to regain control. However, this unintentional training has conditioned our dogs to associate the doorbell with excitement and chaos.
But here's the good news - we can recondition what the doorbell means to our dogs. Some dog owners love to condition the sound of the doorbell to their dogs going to their place or crate without a command, while others simply want calm behavior. Let's explore how we can achieve that.
Reconditioning the Doorbell Response
Our goal is to teach the dog that the doorbell sound means nothing extraordinary. Many of our clients have successfully reconditioned their dogs' responses to the doorbell in as little as a week. Here's how:
Day 1: Play the doorbell sound for 10 minutes and leave the room.
Day 2: Play the doorbell sound for 20 minutes and leave the room. You can record your doorbell sound and press play, then go about your business where your dog can't receive feedback from you.
Day 3: Play the doorbell sound for 10 minutes and stay in the room but ignore the dog.
Day 4: Play the doorbell sound for 10 minutes. On this day, observe your dog's reaction. Stay in the room, watch them, and if they still react strongly, continue with the first four days of the process until there's calm when the doorbell rings.
Day 5: Have someone ring the doorbell and stand at the door, ringing every 10-15 seconds for a minute. Repeat this 1-2 times a day for a few days. During this process, let the doorbell ring, ignore your dog, and never go to the door or acknowledge the bell ringing. The dog is learning that when the bell rings, nothing exciting happens.
Once your dog no longer finds the doorbell exciting, you can start working on opening the door and greetings, setting the stage for a calm and enjoyable holiday season.
To assist you further in this important training process, we've prepared a special resource for you - our Doorbell Desensitization Replay. This replay is a valuable tool to reinforce the steps outlined above. It allows you to practice doorbell desensitization at your own pace, ensuring that your dog is well-prepared for the upcoming holiday season.
In our next article, we'll explore more ways to work through over-excitement, so stay tuned for more valuable insights to make this holiday season your best one yet with your well-behaved canine companion.