People coming through the front door are excited to see your service dog in training which can lead to jumping or other excited behavior. One way to deal with this behavior is to prevent it from even occurring by using commands “down” or “stay.”
First, have everyone knock and wait to be invited in every time they come to the door, even family members. This gives you time to get the dog into position before people come into the house. Second, have your dog leashed anytime someone is coming through the door. You can leash him once you hear the knock on the door. Third, your dog does not get to go to the door to greet people when they come in the door. If your door is locked, walk with the door to unlock the door and tell the person on the other side to wait a minute.
Choose whether you want to use place or down stay somewhere for when people come through the door. You do not want to put place close to the door; put it at least 10 feet away to start. If you choose a down stay, again start at least 10 feet from the door in a down. You may find that your dog needs to be quite a distance away from the door to hold the position initially.
Start by having family members walk out of the house, wait a minute and then knock on the door as if they were a new person arriving to your house. Act as if it is a normal situation of someone arriving to your home, i.e. do not have the dog leashed and be standing by the door. When you hear the knock at your door, grab the leash and attach it to your dog. Ask the person to wait a minute while you get your dog situated. Start at a further distance away. Once you get your dog into position, yell for the person to come in. If your dog immediately breaks the position and gets up, yell for the person to go back outside and shut the door. Repeat this until the person is able to walk into your house and stand in the doorway with your door shut.
Your dog needs to remain in the down/stay or place until he is calm… so no crazy tail wagging, trying to get up, whining, etc. Keep your dog leashed the whole time but as he is calm, you can free him to get up and allow him to slowly walk towards to guests. If he gets too excited, stop and have him sit. If he is still too excited, turn and go backwards a bit and put him back into a down. Repeat until you are able to get to the person at the door.
And when he is freed to get up, he gets no attention from guests unless he sits. If he jumps or looks as though he will jump, the guest will turn their back on him and walk away a few steps keeping their back turned until he is sitting again.
This takes consistency and practice to get to the point where you can put your dog in a down stay or place and walk to the door to let people in without your dog breaking his stay.
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, or SDWR, provides custom-trained service dogs for invisible disabilities such as Autism, Diabetes, PTSD, and Seizure Disorders. If you have any other questions about our Service Dog Raiser Program please visit our FAQ page. For more information visit www.sdwr.org or call (540) 543-2307.