My Furry Guru series: How to Train Your Doggo

​​Every time the doorbell rang, every time someone knocked on our door…every time someone visited…our young dogs went ballistic.

They would erupt in loud barking, joyous jumping and licking our guests, and all-round jubilant behavior that did NOT endear them to most of our visitors.  When our guests were seated, the dogs would continue with their rude behavior, leaping up onto the back of the couch, licking their ears as well as their hands when the guest attempted to push them away.

One energetic young doggo was annoying enough, but two 50 lb bouncing boys were simply too much for polite company.

In response I began leashing them and holding their leads until they calmed down.  This worked reasonably well, but it was still a pain in the butt. I was looking for a more creative way of changing that behavior.

It’s been said that when your dog joyously greets you at your homecoming it makes a person feel good about themselves.  It’s true, nobody celebrates your arrival more than your loyal dog!  However, when your dog has a habit of launching himself upon you every time you get home, even when your arms are full of groceries, it gets a bit annoying.  

Know what I mean?  Does your dog jump on guests?  Or have you had a dog jump on you when you’re arrived for a visit at someone’s home?  Most of the time you don’t want to knee your hosts dog, and put up with trying to keep them off of you…but you don’t like it, right?

I began looking for a more permanent solution. 

That which you seek has also been seeking you!

Nothing is impossible to the creative mind.  It’s all in the way you view the situation.  
It has also been said that failure cannot be an option.  I understand that perspective but would like to offer a divergent perspective.  Consider failure an option…not one that you choose because you will learn from it.  Learning transforms a fail into a win.

This is what I learned…each time I encounter what I consider a fail, I learned to use the fail as a reminder to focus on my commitment to learn from it.

Instead of wallowing in disappointment, the error became a prompt to look deeper and learn from the experience.

I utilized this knowledge when looking for a solution to my very happy, but annoying, doggos.

What is my objective?  To keep my dogs from barking so loudly we couldn’t hear ourselves, and jumping on guests when they enter, yes, but the ultimate objective is to teach them that being calm when anyone arrives will bring them a reward… attention awarded to a well-behaved doggo.

I was watching a video on stopping jumping at the door by my one of my favorite dog trainers, Joel Beckman, because I needed a refresher.  He recommended that I send my dog to a “place” using a Place or Bed command.  So, when the doorbell rings, or someone knocks on your door, I can send the dog to its bed on command.  

He suggests that you repeat this exercise over and over to condition it into the dog. 

Patience is the key to success. “I can do this all day,” as Joel Beckman says in his videos.

Other trainers use similar techniques but Joel is a unique personality.  I like that guy.  He’s as clear and to the point in his instruction as he is with his dog training techniques.  No BS.

That’s when I got the brainwave!  Call it a WOW! moment of inspiration…

Paula, a quiet, confident voice whispered…Use the trigger as the remedy!

By now, I bet you are following my thought process here…I am using the trigger (the doorbell stimulus or the knocking on the door) as the dogs cue to go to bed!

Isn’t that too cool?  I was doing a little happy dance when my husband walked into the room! Creativity is so delightful!!

Creativity is taking two seemingly unrelated items and combining them to make something unique.  I’m not taking credit for using a ringing bell as a stimulus.  The Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov did that first.  What is new and innovative, especially to me, was using the actual trigger as an automatic training aid.  

When the doorbell rings, I’m training my dogs to automatically go to bed (in our case, it’s their crates that are beside the back door).  When someone knocks, I’m training my dogs to hear the knock and automatically go to bed.  Then I reward them as I briefly close the door to their crate.  When they are calm, this transforms into a self-rewarding exercise because they get released from their crate! FREEDOM!

Our Financial Advisor was scheduled to come to the house and drop off some documents.  It was the perfect time to work the plan!  To our delight…and the serenity of our household as well as Marty’s comfort as our guest, the exercise worked beautifully!  We were talking and 10 minutes went by.  By the time I was ready to “release the hounds” from their crates both Zen pups were snoozing! 

 When they woke up, my dogs are only too happy to claim their prize!  And I am claiming mine.  This unique combo is my gift to you.

If you wish to use it with your dogs, simply contact me in the comments below for the general process I’m using.  And please let me know if my process works for you!

If you wish to use this mindset in your own life, to transform your fails into wins, simply contact me for further information on the philosophical concept I call, Tattoo Moments.   

If you have benefitted from this post please spread the love by sharing it!


Published by Paula D. Tozer

I am a writer, poet and singer/songwriter. I am a Toastmaster, motivational speaker, personal creativity coach, and workshop leader. My most sincere wish is to share my words with others, and that we both benefit from the exchange.

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