Become Better #7:
How to teach your dog to go to his room or crate
There may be situations when telling your dog to get away and relax, and not to jump upon a guest (see previous lesson #6), isn’t even enough to let your guest feel comfortable. The sad fact is that some people are very afraid of dogs, and are not feeling easy when a dog is around. This, of course, can be the most prevalent when the dog is of a large dog breed.
In this case, it is helpful if you are able to tell your dog to go to its room or create, and your dog will comply without hesitation.
Sometimes it’s easier to avoid a jumping-up situation by letting your dog leave the place, rather than try to prevent jumping upon a guest. To do this, teach your dog to run to another room when the doorbell rings or someone knocks.
Lesson 7: Getting your dog to go to his room or crate when visitors come
For this lesson you’ll need a hallow toy stuffed with peanut butter, cheese or some other food your dog really likes.
- Pick a designated room where you want your dog to go when the doorbell rings or someone knocks.
- Have the hallow, food-stuffed toy ready on a shelf or somewhere (other than the floor) in that room so you can quickly grab it.
- When your dog is in the house and calm, go to the door and ring the bell and/or knock, then run to the designated room, calling your dog and clapping so he’ll run after you.
- As soon as your dog follows you into the room, give him the food-stuffed toy, leave the room and shut the door (with him still in the room, of course).
- After 10-20 seconds, go into the room, take the toy away and let your dog out.
- Wait about 10 minutes, and then repeat Steps 3 through 5.
- Practice this exercise three times, pausing for several minutes between each session.
This will teach your dog that if he runs to the designated room when the doorbell rings or someone knocks, he’ll get a delicious reward.
- For your fourth practice session, change the procedure a bit. While your dog is still inside the closed room busy with the food-stuffed toy, go ring the doorbell or knock and then talk as if you’re greeting friends. After a few seconds, go let your dog out of the room.
- After your dog has learned to run to the designated room when the doorbell rings or someone knocks, advance the training with a real visitor. After the visitor has been inside for a few minutes, go let your dog out of the room. As your dog approaches the visitor, practice the “no jumping” lesson where your visitor asks your dog to sit as he approaches. Immediately reward his correct response.
Tip: Give your dog the food-stuffed toy whenever visitors are in the house, so he’ll be more interested in that than jumping up on them.
Not doing what you want? Here is what to do
Practice Plan for Lesson 7
Practice these lessons several times a day. Vary the time of day and location.
You may ask a friend or family member who doesn’t live at your house to help with this practice by “paying you a visit”.
If your dog hasn’t learned yet not to jump up on people, then you may tell that person to wear some rather sturdy, less than fine clothes, as your dog might jump upon them while he is still learning. So tell them not to wear fine silk blouses, jumpers made from delicate knits where a loop may run out, and so forth.
Coming up next week:
Become Better – Training Lesson 8: How to teach your dog to heel