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Should You Stay or Wait When People Come to the Door?

Puppy 101 Socialization Development Adult Puppy
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As a dog owner, you’ve likely experienced the excitement and anxiety that comes with visitors arriving at your doorstep. Dogs can get overstimulated by the sights, sounds, and smells of unknown individuals, leading to behaviors like barking, whining, and even growling. But fear not! With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement training, you can teach your furry friend to stay calm when people come to the door.

Why Dogs Get Excited or Anxious at the Door

Dogs may exhibit these behaviors due to various reasons:

  • Fear of strangers: Your dog might be uncertain about new faces and personalities.
  • Overstimulation from sounds and smells: The commotion and unfamiliar scents can overwhelm your pup’s senses.
  • Lack of socialization: Without proper exposure to various environments, people, and situations, your dog may become uneasy around visitors.
  • Medical issues (e.g., anxiety disorders): Underlying health conditions or chronic stress can contribute to your dog’s door-related anxieties.

Training Your Dog to Stay Calm at the Door

To teach your dog to stay calm when someone approaches the door, follow these steps:

  1. “Wait” or “Stay” Command: Teach your dog a reliable “wait” or “stay” command using positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise.
  2. Desensitization: Gradually expose your dog to door-related stimuli, such as knocking, ringing, and conversation, while rewarding calm behavior.
  3. Gradual Exposure: Increase the duration of calm behavior by gradually increasing the amount of time your dog spends near the door during training sessions.
  4. Manage Distractions: Teach your dog to focus on you despite distractions like sudden noises or movements.

Tips for Practicing Door-Manners

To make the most out of your training, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Practice Consistency: Stick to a regular routine and schedule for door-manners training.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and affection.
  • Be Patient: Training takes time, so don’t rush the process. Give your dog the space and patience they need.

Real-Life Scenarios

When faced with common scenarios like:

  • Unexpected visitors: Keep calm and assertive, speaking in a soothing tone to reassure your dog.
  • Mailmen or package deliveries: Teach your dog to associate these individuals with positive experiences, such as treats and praise.
  • Noise and commotion: Use positive reinforcement training to help your dog become desensitized to sudden noises.

Remember to stay patient, calm, and consistent when handling these situations. Your dog will appreciate the guidance and trust you’ll provide.


Teaching your dog to stay calm when people come to the door requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement training. By following these steps and tips, you can help your furry friend become a well-behaved door-manner.

For More Information

Consult with your local veterinarian for personalized advice on training your dog based on their breed, age, and individual needs. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your specific situation.

Check with your vet for more information about your pet’s unique needs!


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