Atlanta Humane Society Blog

August 4, 2010

Tips, Tricks and Tools by Mailey!

The AHS blog is kicking off a new series called Tips, Tricks and Tools by Mailey! This new series is dedicated to answering reader questions.  We want you guys to write in with all your inquiries on animal behavior and training. Here’s how it will work: e-mail your questions to, Mailey McLaughlin, our Animal Behavior and Training expert, will answer them and then they will be posted in one week. Here are our first batch of questions.

We have two dogs that rush the door when someone knocks or rings the bell. They try to push past us while we attempt to open the door and they tend to jump up on our guests when they first arrive. How can we prevent this?

You don’t say how old the little beasts are, but do they have basic obedience training? They simply believe that this is the way to behave at the door, and will continue to do this until they are given another option. Teaching them to go to a “place” you designate when the doorbell rings will give them a good alternative. You will have to teach this to them separately, when there is no one arriving, so that when you need them to do it, they will remember.

Doors are exciting locations for dogs, and this is not uncommon behavior. If they already know basic commands like “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay,” this will go a lot faster. In the meantime, do not let them “practice” the bad behavior when guests arrive; crate them or leash them so that you can control their excitement and then teach the new behaviors when things are calm. Treat them for going to the spots you designate, and make it fun and rewarding for them. Just remember that the excitement of visitors arriving will outweigh everything at first, but with repetition, they will get it.

Try this link for explicit instructions.

These answers were provided by Mailey E. McLaughlin, M.Ed., our Training & Behavior Manager and Certified Dog Trainer. For more information, email her directly at


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