Here it is: The final day of Bark Week! And this one’s a biggie! Today I’m sharing our biggest barking problem, what we’re doing to combat it, and a giveaway of the most fabulous anti-barking tool ever!
But if your dogs are anything like mine, none of those problems even compare to what happens when – cue horror movie music – a stranger rings the doorbell. Dun dun dunnnn.
So, today that’s what we’re discussing: the insanity of barking at the front door and my new strategy to work on it!
Whenever someone rings our doorbell, it’s like unleashing a pack of gamma-irradiated-werewolf-zombie hybrids. They fling themselves at top speed into the door, barking like deranged, rabid monsters. Then, inevitably, Cooper turns that huge amount of frustration onto Lucas. Then, trying to actually get the door open and welcome our guest/sign for a package is an epic feat of wrangling them either behind the sunroom gate or into the backyard.
Does anyone else experience something like this? Please tell me this isn’t just me…
OK. So, clearly a problem. We decided to tackle this head on a couple years ago and tried so many strategies. We tried sending them to their beds whenever someone came to the door. They nailed it when we practiced – even when other people helped us practice – but these guys have done so much training that they quickly figured out practice vs. a real stranger at the door. They would either not go to their beds, or they would but would pop up the second I turned the deadbolt. Fail.
We also tried associating the doorbell with a “place” that came with treats. We rang and rang and rang and rang the doorbell, sending them to their place and raining treats upon their heads. And then we did it some more. Yet, again, they would do it perfectly… until a stranger actually came to the door, then they were like, “Doesn’t apply! This is a real threat! Abort training!” Fail.
New plan! (And this one’s working!)
When we visited PetSafe way back in the summer, they generously gave us a Train ‘n Praise, which I promptly put in the closet and forgot about because… what did we need that for? We weren’t potty training or anything, so??
Little did I know until in a random Facebook discussion, Jodi from Kol’s Notes mentioned how she was using it, and LIGHTBULB!
We went through quite a bit of trial-and-error, but here’s what we hit on as THE solution:
The Train ‘n Praise is on top of the fireplace, across from the front door (in the pic above, I’m standing in the doorway). When we push the little remote button, it spits out treats that scatter all over. The button also comes with a really specific noise to signify that treats are coming. So, what we’ve been doing is pushing that button every single time the doorbell rings and every single time someone comes in the house through the front door.
Are they 100%?
Not yet anyway, but it’s working better than anything else we tried. The boys are OBSESSED with Ann, their pet sitter, and she told me that when she came in, Lucas ran right over to the Train ‘n Praise to collect his treat… without her pushing the button. My mom and her friend stopped by, and Cooper was so busy gathering treats, he barely had time to clobber them. Barely. Sigh.
Anyway, it’s a work in progress. We used it on Halloween, which was a seriously high-intensity practice session, and they did great. My ultimate goal is to have them just assume that when the doorbell rings, they need to run over and collect their treats, rather than barking their faces off or clobbering guests. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it!
Sound intriguing? Want to try it with your dog?
Well, guess what! You can! I had a PetSafe gift certificate, and I used it to purchase TWO Train ‘n Praises for two of you! This is a Rafflecopter giveaway. The widget should load below in a few seconds, or if you’re reading via email or feed, you may have to click the link.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ll keep you posted on our progress. But, for now, Bark Week is a wrap!
Do your dogs go nutso barking at the front door? Have you found any other solutions that work? If you win the Train ‘n Praise, how do you envision using it?