As the owner of more than one dog have you had to deal with them rushing the door when someone rings the bell or knocks? This is a common problem. It is their natural tendency to protect their home ground and when one dog alerts the other joins in, creating a stronger protection front. Unfortunately, this does not help your cause as they try to rush through the door when it is opened.
There are several ways to solve this problem using positive reinforcement and redirection techniques. The first step, however, is obedience training. Once a dog has full understanding of visual and verbal cues you can utilize them in a large variety of situations; the front door is one of them.
Once your dogs understand sit and stay, practice this exercise in distraction zones. Go to parks, parking lots, veterinarian offices and shopping centers.
When both dogs are reliably and consistently responding individually, it is time to work them in tandem. As with the introduction of most distractions, you may have more success with control at the door if you begin the exercise one at a time, bringing them together when each individual is reliable. Work the dogs in tandem often so that they respond appropriately when in each other’s presence. If they do not perform well together, regress a bit to working with them individually until their performances are reliable.
Begin with placing your dogs in sit/stays. Go knock on the door yourself. Within a short time your dogs will realize that you are the one knocking. The next step is asking someone to come to your home and knock on the door. When your dogs are remaining in their stays for the knocking, have that person ring the doorbell.
Each time your dogs break their sit/stays, lure them back into position using a toy or treat. Give them the sit and stay cues, then try again. Your dogs must learn that remaining in their sit/stays is far more rewarding than rushing the door.
Another means of dealing with the issue, and especially useful for dogs who have not been formally trained, is to condition them to go into the opposite direction of the door when they hear a knock or doorbell sound.
Go to the door and knock on it. As your dogs go rushing to the door, throw some treats down the hall or the entry area, away from the direction of the door. When your dogs go after the treats praise them and throw a few more. Repeat this exercise often; until your dogs automatically run in the direction you have been throwing the treats.
Once your dogs are conditioned to this exercise, enlist the aid of someone to knock on the door from outside your home. Repeat the exercise of throwing the treats down the hall, away from the door. As your dogs continue to go in the direction of their rewards, make the distraction more difficult by having your assistant ring the doorbell.
The exercise can be taken even further by having your dogs either sit/stay or go away from the door when someone walks through. Merely repeat the exercises as needed until your dogs understand how to behave to earn their rewards.
This process is far more successful than yelling and fighting your way through your dogs every time the doorbell rings. Everybody knows what is expected of them and you no longer have to worry about your dogs squeezing through your legs and racing into the street or going for a neighborhood walkabout.