Dogs will get excited or act aggressive at the front door when guests arrive so let’s explore why that is and how to correct it.
The knock or bell starts it off with barking, jumping and excitement. The human tries to get control, but ends up frustrated and angry and never really gets control before trying to open the door. The human ends up holding the dog’s collar from behind and tries to open the door and hold back the dog. If you’ve done this, you know it doesn’t work very well. Others put their dog in a crate or another room when guests come. If you are able to get the guest inside, there is lots of jumping up and or growling and barking. This is embarrassing and very stressful for all. Most people write it off as just the way it is. I say, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you create a calm state of mind in your dog before you open the door, you solve many issues right then and there.
To correct this issue first you have to change your state of mind and the pattern with which you answer the door. The human emotions are what your dog feeds off of. You must replace your nervousness, anxiety, and fear with calm relaxed assertive energy. That what will translate to your dog as leader energy. Your dog needs to understand that you don’t need their help when guests arrive. You have it under control. That’s the message you want your dog to get from you.
So, let’s approach the front door greeting a bit differently.
When there is a knock or ring at the front door let’s try this instead: Allow the dog to approach the door barking as usual. Walk calmly and relaxed to the door and position yourself between the door and the dog facing the dog. With hands open and at your side, palms facing dog, use the command “back” and begin moving toward the dog using your body to block and not allowing him to get around you. Continue blocking and moving forward using your legs to move your dog backward. This is how one dog tells another dog, hey, you are in my spot and claims the space. You are doing the same thing. Claiming the foyer area and saying, thanks for alerting me, but I’ve got it from here. When you have moved your dog back to a distance that is comfortable for you, tell him to stay and walk toward the door sideways as you will still be able to see him with your peripheral vision. If he takes as much as one step toward the door, turn and face him again and repeat the “back” process again until he’s back in the original place you put him the first time. Repeat, “stay” and walk sideways back to the door. This process serves to calm his brain and create the relaxed state of mind you want before you open the door. Once the guest is inside, do not allow him to come into the space to greet them until you invite him to do so.
You will be surprised at how fast he will pick this up if you remain calm and assertive the entire time. Your energy and body language will tell him that you are in control and do not require his help. Once inside the house your guest may greet him in a calm fashion for just a few seconds and then everyone walk away and ignore him. This will give you confidence as a pack leader and will help your dog to trust and respect you as his leader.
Good luck, Paul