How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump at the Door

How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump at the Door
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

There are so many reasons why it's a bad idea for a dog to jump at the door, especially a glass one. From the large dog who accidentally smashes the glass to a small dog leaving paw prints, keeping 'four on the floor' and not jumping up is the best idea.

Sorting this problem requires a little lateral thinking. First, you must figure out why the dog jumps at the door. For example, is it his way of asking to go out to the toilet or does the dog get super-excited when the doorbell rings? Identify the role played by jumping and you can teach an alternative behavior that is both safe and acceptable.

As with many training issues, prevent the dog doing the unwanted jumping while you're retraining. This can be as simple as putting the dog in another room when visitors are due or leaving the door to the yard open when you're not training.

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Defining Tasks

Jumping up is an action the dog teaches himself. He learns that jumping up makes the door open or visitors appear. This means the behavior is ingrained, which makes it harder to break. This is why it's important to reduce the opportunity for the jumping, while you retrain.

Successful trainers don't just tell the dog what not to do, they put an alternative action in its place. That way the dog knows what is expected in order to make the door open or the visitor enter.

Train little and often, say twice a day for 10 - 15 minutes at a time. Always used reward-based methods and keep the sessions fun. Last but not least, end on a positive note with a command the dog is able to do.

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Getting Started

All you need are basics, such as tasty treats. In addition, you'll need props such as a mat (for the dog to lie on instead of going to the door) or a bell (to ring instead of jumping at the door).

  • Treats
  • Props, such as a mat or bell.

Be aware that punishing the dog for jumping at the door is ineffective and damages the bond between you. Instead, teach the dog the appropriate response so he knows what's expected from him.

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The Stop Bad Habits Method

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Stop Bad Habits method for How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump at the Door
1

Understand the idea

OK, so your dog jumps at the door when the doorbell rings. You open the door to let in guests who then give him a big fuss. In his mind, jumping at the door gets a big reward. To re-educate the dog, you have to stop those accidental treats. Think around your particular problem and see what you can come up with.

2

Visitors phone ahead

Get visitors to phone when they are nearly at the house, so you can put the dog in a back room. This removes the opportunity for the dog to jump at the door and reinforce his bad habit.

3

Leave a leash on in the house

Keep a leash on the dog in the house. When the postman knocks, grab the leash to stop the dog charging for the door.

4

Withdraw attention

If the dog jumps at the door, don't respond in the way he expects. If it is safe to do so, walk away and withdraw your attention. This means jumping up is not rewarded and becomes less attractive as an occupation.

5

No shouting!

Don't shout at the dog for jumping at the door (your attention is rewarding to dogs). Have visitors ignore the dog as they enter. Both of these strategies avoid rewarding the unwanted behavior.

The Teach 'Bark' Instead Method

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Teach 'Bark' Instead method for How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump at the Door
1

Understand the idea

Your dog has a habit of jumping at the door when he wants to go out. Try encouraging a different signal, which you reward.

2

Work with the dog's existing skills

Decide where the dog's strengths lie. For example, if his loves using his voice, then teaching him to bark as a signal works well. For the dog that loves scratching, consider a bell for him to strike with a paw.

3

Link 'bark' to the door opening

For the vocal dog, wait for him to ask to go out. Instead of immediately opening the door, encourage him to bark. Perhaps show him a favorite toy, one he'll bark to get hold of. Or talk in an excited voice, so he picks up the vibe and barks back.

4

Praise and reward

Immediately when the dog barks, praise him, give a treat, and open the door. Now he learns a bark is more rewarding than jumping at the door.

5

Be patient

It takes time but the dog learns that a bark unlocks the door and jumping serves no purpose. It can be helpful to do this in conjunction with the Stop Bad Habits method.

The Teach 'Mat' Instead Method

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Teach 'Mat' Instead method for How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump at the Door
1

Understand the idea

Let's move to the scenario where the dog jumps at the door to greet visitors. While retraining, plan ahead and stop access to the door when guests call. The plan is to teach an alternative action, such as lying on his mat, which you establish as the desired reaction.

2

Teach the dog to go to his mat

Next is to teach the dog to lie on his mat. It helps if the dog is already trained to 'stay'. You may need to teach this command in tandem if not.

3

Position the mat

Place the mat at a distance from the door. Place a treat on the mat and as the dog goes to the mat to eat it, say "mat". Now try standing a couple of feet away. Point to the mat and give the 'mat' command. You may need to toss a treat onto the mat to get the dog to respond.

4

Increase the mat's distance from the door

This teaches the dog that "mat" translates as "Sit on that spot to get a reward". This is easy for him to do, so he's likely to obey. Gradually increase the distance from the mat as you give the command.

5

Have the dog 'stay' on the mat

Once the dog is regularly going to the mat on cue, increase the amount of time he spends there with a 'stay' command. This will help your dog's self-control when visitors do arrive since he shouldn't move until released from the 'stay'.

6

Practice with visitors

Now enlist the help of a friend. With the dog regularly obeying 'mat', add in a knock on the door. (A knock only, the person doesn't actually enter.) By tossing a treat to the mat, you can override his desire to jump at the door--especially when there's no fuss from a visitor.

7

Come on in

Your final step is to have people enter while the dog stays on the mat. Have visitors completely ignore the dog but walk over to his mat. If he stays put, he gets a treat.

By Pippa Elliott

Published: 11/03/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Remington

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Lab mix

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7 Months

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Question

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He is jumping on my glass door when he wants to come inside, not to go out just come in. I got him a bell, and he rings it on command but won’t ring before dining inside and still jumps?

Jan. 23, 2022

Remington's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laura, For the door jumping, work on teaching pup a sit or go outside with pup when they go potty and reward pup with a treat for ringing the bell when you walk pup back to the door to go inside. Before you let them inside each time, have them ring the bell or sit. Once pup has learned to do those things while you are outside with pup, then while you are inside and pup comes to the door to come inside, open the door a bit and command Sit or Bell. If they obey, open the door all the way and tell them "Okay" and let pup in. If they disobey and try to rush the door or jump up, close it more so they can't get through and wait until they sit before opening it again. That alone may be enough, but if not, after practicing the above, when pup jumps on the door anyway, open it slightly and spray a small puff of air from an unscented air canister at their side or chest - avoiding spraying them in the face, then close the door again - not letting them in yet. When they are calmly waiting at the door or especially if they sit or ring the bell to be let in instead, let them in or toss them a treat if it's not time to come in yet - to encourage the polite manners. Don't use citronella for this, only unscented air, and avoiding spraying in the face. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 24, 2022

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Freddy

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Labrador Retriever

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13 Months

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My dog jumps up on the door from the outside when he sees somebody in the kitchen. He is scratching the door and the door is glass so I don’t want him to smash that. How do I teach him not to jump up when looking attention?

Jan. 15, 2022

Freddy's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karol, For the door jumping, work on teaching pup a sit. Before you let them inside each time, have the sit. Open the door a bit and command Sit. If they obey, open the door all the way and tell them "Okay". If they disobey and try to rush the door, close it more so they can't get through and wait until they sit before opening it again. That alone may be enough, but if not, when pup jumps on the door, open it slightly and spray a small puff of air from an unscented air canister at their side or chest - avoiding spraying them in the face, then close the door again - not letting them in yet. When they are calmly waiting at the door or especially if they sit to be let in instead, let them in or toss them a treat if it's not time to come in yet - to encourage the polite manners. Don't use citronella for this, only unscented air, and avoid spraying in the face. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 17, 2022


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