One of the first things you want to teach your dog, especially if you live on a busy road, is to not rush toward the door when someone comes in or out. When your pup rushes to the door, he not only runs the risk of escaping, but of tripping someone and possibly getting injured himself. It is natural for him to be interested in someone coming or going, but he needs to learn to stay back and check out the action from afar. Train him to do this is in separate phases:
Phase 1 - Create a comfy spot near the door
Set up a spot for him near the doorway. Place a blanket or dog bed there, so he has a clear area designated for where he belongs. To teach him to go to his spot, toss a treat over to the blanket and tell him "spot." When he goes to the blanket to pick up his treat, praise him. Repeat the process until he appears to understand what you want. Then give him the "spot" command without tossing a treat. If he goes to his spot, reward him with praise and a treat. If he doesn't, he needs more practice.
Phase 2 - Teach him to stay in his spot
Convince your pup to remain on his spot even when there are distractions. Once your puppy reliably goes to his spot on command, you need to convince him to stay there when someone comes to the door. To do this, give him the command to go to his spot. Once there, tell him "wait." Only make him wait a few seconds, then crouch down and say "OK" so he knows he can come to you. Repeat the process until he understands that when you tell him to wait, he should wait until you tell him it's OK to move.
Phase 3 - Enlist help to create a distraction
Once your dog knows to go to his spot and wait on command, you can challenge him by having someone enter or leave the house. If he heads for the door, put him back on his spot. Repeat the process using different people. Have them both enter the house and leave until your dog reliably goes to his spot and stays there when there is any activity at the door.
By Stephanie Dube Dwilson
About the Author
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.