How To Calm Your Dog

How To Calm Your Dog

Here is what happened:

Yesterday I was working with a Springer Spaniel. This Spaniel had a problem that many dogs have.

He goes absolutely out of his mind when someone rings the doorbell.

Barking, jumping, circling, bouncing off the furniture and the owner can’t stand it. She wants her to dog to calmly greet her guests when they come over.

I had a helper ring the doorbell and watched what happened.

After the explosion and once the dog calmed down I sat down with the owner and said we could solve her problem with one word.

She excitedly leaned forward and asked me what the word was. I said:


Her forehead crinkled and she asked: “How am I going to get my dog to relax when he is going crazy like that?” She did not like my reply. I said:

“Not the dog – you.”

She was really confused at this point. You see, she was making the behavior ten times worse. As soon as the doorbell rang she was right on her dog’s heels. Once at the door it became a verbal and physical wrestling match.

She was yelling and trying to grab her dog to calm him down which was like throwing gas on a fire.

I explained to her that the doorbell is the highlight of the day for most dogs and their excitement level spikes through the roof.

When a dog is in a high level of excitement or agitation, any form of attention is going to make the behavior worse.

Information can not be processed when the dog is going bananas. Most people at this point look at it like it’s bad behavior and feel that they have to punish.

The way we get information (training) into the dog’s melon is when they are calm.

Which is a good reason to avoid choke and prong collars during training.

Here is what I had her do.  I had my helper ring the bell and had her stand in the background without looking, touching or talking to her dog.

The doorbell rang and the normal chaos happened. Her dog bolted for the door and began his out of control behavior.

Then, then, then…..after about 30 seconds he stopped and turned his head looking for mom.

He actually left the door and walked over to her. I pointed out that NOW we can start to take steps to teach a different greeting because he (and her) were calm.

She was stunned, speechless, and finally said: “That was amazing!”

I didn’t say anything but was tempted to say: “Well, I am The Amazing Dog Training Man afterall.”

But I’m way too modest to say anything like that – ha!

So here is your Do It Yourself training experiment to try.

If your dog blows a gasket every time someone rings the bell, find a helper and have them ring the bell.

Stay back, observe your dog from the corner of your eye. Don’t make direct eye contact, don’t say anything and please don’t touch your dog.

And then just wait and watch.

Chances are you’ll see your dog run for the door and after a few seconds you’ll see him calm down. Now you can take the next steps to train your dog to sit when your guest walks in the door.

It’s a lot of fun to watch.

Speaking of fun – if you want your dog to STOP certain behaviors like jumping, chewing, barking, begging and more check out the Good K9 Manners Program.

Good K9 Manners Program