First, let’s cover what you should not do: Why You Should Not Use Pinch, Choke, or Shock Collars to Control Unruly Behavior When the Doorbell Rings

Negative Reinforcement has side effects.

Many dog trainers will try to control the behavior by putting a choke, pinch, or shock collar on your dog. The problem with this is that you are not dealing with the underlying problem. The underlying problem is your dog just trying to greet a guest. Imagine getting knocked in the head ever time you tried to say hi to someone coming through the door. Over a period of time you may start to develop a problem with guests.

Putting a pinch collar on your dog will not “correct” the behavior. If you stop and think about it for a moment, your dog is displaying correct behavior when he jumps and gets excited about guests coming over. Dogs are extremely social animals, just look at how they greet each other. It is not acceptable behavior to us humans, but it is defiantly not bad behavior. It is only bad behavior from our point of view. What we need to teach our dogs is acceptable behavior when the bell rings.

You will have a difficult time trying to teach your dog to calm down when you are yelling and yanking on a choke collar, trying to stop your dog from greeting.

Step Two: How to Stop Your Dog From Blowing a Gasket the Next Time Your Doorbell Rings

Here’s the secret:

The next time your doorbell rings, don’t get up and follow your dog to the door. Stay seated in your chair and wait. It is best to set it up. Have a friend come over and ring the bell. When your dog jumps up and runs to the door, don’t follow him. Be patient. Your dog is used to the doorbell being the highlight of his day. It will take a few moments for him to settle.

What you will see is confusion in your dog. Your dog will not understand why you are not following him over to the door. Once your dog settles call him over to you. Ask your dog to sit. Once your dog sits, then get up and approach the door. This is where you are going to use the Premack Principle, also known as Grandma’s Law.

David Premack was a behavioral psychologist who discovered a useful principle in his research in behavior modification. The principle goes like this: You can increase the frequency of any low probability behavior by making it contingent upon a high probability behavior.

Or to put it another way: A higher probability behavior can be used to reinforce a lower probability behavior, a little wordy but let me explain.

Grandma would use the Premack principle by telling you that you could not watch TV until you washed the dishes, or that you could not have desert until you ate all your vegetables.

You see, Grandma would not let you watch TV, (high probability behavior) until you cleaned the dishes (low probability behavior). The same thing can be done with your dog.

When you understand and apply the Premack Principle you can get your dog to perform in any situation.

Your dog wants to see who is on the other side of the door. That is the reward. That’s what is motivating your dog. Now you want to use that to your advantage.

Ask your dog to sit. Once your dog sits, put your hand on the doorknob. If your dog gets up take your hand off the doorknob and walk away. Once your dog settles again put your hand on the knob. If he stays in the sit position start to slowly open the door. Chances are your dog will get up again. Quickly shut the door and walk away. Once your dog settles repeat the process.

You will find that by following the steps listed above you can gradually gain control over your dog’s behavior when the doorbell rings. The important point to remember is to control the outcome of the greeting. Don’t let your dog greet until he is behaving the way that you want him to.

Author's Bio: 

Eric Letendre, the author of The Amazing Dog Training Man, invites you to visit http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com for leading edge dog training tips, instructional video clips, and articles that will help you train and understand your dog. You can also get weekly dog training updates with a free Smart Dog Newsletter subscription, available at http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com/newsletter1.htm