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Old 01-09-2013, 08:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Scary Behavior When Doorbell Rings!

We've discovered that Dempsey, age 5, goes absolutely haywire when the doorbell rings. A neighbor brought his child by to sell a school fundraiser, and rang the doorbell. Dempsey went into the red zone, charging the door, jumping up on it, trying to get through it, clawing at it, barking and growling, hackles up. He was not in a happy, oh boy, a visitor mode, whatsoever. This is about the 2nd or 3rd time he's done this. We've learned never to open the door if he's loose in the house when someone comes to the door.

Tonight was worse than usual. Obviously, I didn't open the door. Instead, I went and grabbed him (after he repeatedly ignored my directions to come to me away from the door) to put him in his crate so I could answer the door. He tried to bite my hand twice to get me to let go of him - WTH? I refused to let go, and I wrangled him into his crate, thank goodness.

Suggestions? DH is NOT happy with this, and neither am I. He also jumped up and nipped DH on the tender underside of his arm the other day when he didn't take Dempsey with him on a run (I've already trained DH to fold his arms over his chest, turn his back, and refuse to acknowledge Dempsey when he jumps on him, but the dog pogo stick jumps off of him, even when ignored. Ignoring him is what brought on the nipping the other day. Something's got to give.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have any advice cause Nico does the same thing to my husband.. We have tried everything. It's finally starting to get a bit better but still a huge work in progress.. Hopefully we can get some advice..


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Old 01-09-2013, 09:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm more worried about him charging the door than I am about him jumping on my husband, especially when he went schizo and bit me tonight. He's normally such a good dog! It was like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde...
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Maybe he was caught up in the moment? Dixie turned and bit me one time when her and Willow got in a spat and I went to separate them. But when she realized it was me she was biting, she immediately changed her demeanor.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My suggestion to you is this.

Have him go to same room as your door. Treat him for sitting nicely. Have your hubby( or kids or a neighbir with them knowing you are training.) go outside and ring the bell. If the dog reacts at all tell him NO in a firm voice and make him sit still. When he does treat and treat again. make it a BIG deal when he does what you want. It will take some time but eventually he will get better at it. Make sure hubby goes around the house or out the garage before he goes to the door. You dont want the dog to know it's him. If he sits quietly then begin to open the door. if he moves close it and start over. It's the same training you do to keep them from running out the door when you open it. Consistancy is the key. He will learn to do the right thing. If you continue to put him away he will always react the same way. Good luck.

Oh and use a leash when you do this so that if he moves towards the door you can catch him quickly. it must be corrected the second he reacts. Every time.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Dempsey is 5 ?
Have you had him since he was a puppy?
If not, how long have you had him and how long has he been charging the door when the doorbell rings?
Is this a new problem or has it been going on, and for how long?

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks! I decided last night to start desensitizing Dempsey to the sound of the doorbell, b/c it totally sets him off, whether there's someone there or not. I rang it every few seconds for a couple of minutes, and finally, he went back to his crate and laid down calmly when I rang it (huge praise party, of course!). I did that about 3 different times over the course of the evening, and he calmed down quicker each time. I'm going to do that a few more days, then introduce a "visitor". Baby steps...
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Good job!!! keep up the good work
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsiemouse View Post
Dempsey is 5 ?
Have you had him since he was a puppy?
If not, how long have you had him and how long has he been charging the door when the doorbell rings?
Is this a new problem or has it been going on, and for how long?

Yes, Dempsey's 5. We've only had him for 4 1/2 months, having adopted him from a boxer rescue. He lived with a guy, who adopted him from the same rescue at 8-9 months of age, but then the guy moved to Wash., D.C. and decided he couldn't/wouldn't take Dempsey with him. His loss, our gain!

The rescue sent him to obedience school, due to lack of training when they got him back, so he's come a long way. Dempsey has always barked when the doorbell rings, but the red zone charging of the door has just surfaced. I'm thinking he's decided we're now his people, and it's his job to protect the place... I'm not sure if he did it in his previous home. With his lack of training before the rescue got him back, I wouldn't be surprised.

Obviously, his mindset needs a serious adjustment, so we're beginning the desensitization process. We don't have a lot of people ringing our doorbell (our grown kids and their SOs just come in when they visit), so we'll have to set up practice visits ourselves. We're not really close enough to our neighbors to invite them to participate.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good job!! We did the same thing with the doorbell with Pheona. But we started telling her to go to bed when it rings. She runs to the door to see who it is & then runs to her bed as soon as we tell her. We make her sit till whoever comes into the house. The hard part for her is when it's my cousin & her fiancee at the door. They were here a lot when she was a tiny puppy as my husband was gone so to her, they are part of her pack. When it's someone else, she'll stay in her bed till we give her the release word. We always treat when she goes to the bed & then when we release her. We are currently working on this method with Murphy.
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