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Is Your Puppy Charging After The Door When Someone Knocks?

One very annoying habit of many dogs is that of charging the door when someone knocks. Since the dog is likely to run faster than the resident human, the dog thinks it's out of your range and hence only under voice control. Now having your dog thoroughly under voice control is a situation to be striven for, but it does not come overnight. In the meantime, how to cope?

I first used one of those chain collars that is supposed to be keyed so it would assault the dog's ears when it was jangled, for I had an adult, incorrigible door charger, Heidi. One day when Heidi was charging the door, I couldn't immediately find the sound collar, so I just grabbed a regular chain choker and threw it, hitting the door at the same moment that my voice hit her ears with the NO. The effect was the same: She backed off. Thus I learned that one does not need any special equipment; the jangle of any choke chain suddenly landing out of thin air is upsetting enough to cause your dog to heed your NO command. Repeated regularly, this combination of the thrown chain and the NO command resulted in the dog not charging doors anymore—in fact, she charged them a lot less, and finally not at all. I've used the technique since on other dogs who learned the lesson in just two or three sessions.

Do not worry about what the person at the door is going to think when you go through your correctional antics. People do not think kind thoughts when they are knocked down or jumped on by a dog that answers the door, so they're likely to appreciate your efforts to keep their entry safe. Besides using the thrown object indoors to aid training, thrown objects are useful outdoors, too. Put some pebbles into an empty plastic bottle and use it as an outdoor training aid.

The puppy who does not heed your voice command is startled by the rattle the bottle makes landing nearby and is quickly convinced that it is not safe to ignore you. A clod of dirt or a handful of pebbles will do in a pinch. Do not use anything that would hurt your pup if it hit. The object here is to get Puppy's attention, not to touch him. The combination of the thrown object and your command gets the pup's attention and improves compliance. Be sneaky about throwing things; you don't want Puppy to see you doing the throwing, for that could make the pup afraid of you.

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