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Discussion Starter #1
Ok everyone, need a little advice here. I am very frustrated with a particular habit that my dogs have.

Whenever I get home from work, the dogs are (of course) excited. Before I let them into the house, I wait for them to calm down and sit quietly.

The trouble is, the dogs know that sitting quietly will get them inside and to the toys, treats and food. But recently, whenever I give them their release command to go inside, they just stampede through the doorway, bumping the door frame, furniture, each other, etc. on their mad quest to get indoors. This is both annoying and dangerous: they've all knocked me hard in the knees on their way in.

How do I let them know that they are supposed to pass calmly through doorways and other spaces? Am I just training them into a "starting gate" mentality by making them sit before I open the door? Should I do something different?

Rushing through the doorway as a pack is only causing them to knock their hips against the door frame (ouch!) and knock me in the knees (double ouch!). Any ideas on how to curb this behavior?
 

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How about releasing them one at a time, making the other two hold their stay? You may have to block the other two at first. Any rushers need to go back and sit and wait
 

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Are the dogs in the yard and come in as soon as you get home? If so, go in first and take a few minutes to do what you need to do.

Then go to the door and open it from the inside. Ask for a sit and then invite them in (easy) - if they rush the door, close it and start again Ask for a sit again, invite them in again - all together or one at a time. Your choice.

Do this just as you would to keep a dog from charging out the door. Only calm dogs get in - they'll quickly figure it out.
 

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If you have toys and treats out in the house, put them up before the dogs come in. Instead of bringing them in the house, why not go out and play with them in the yard or set with them in the yard for a while?(Change your routine...) Then get up and calmly walk in WITH your dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I have been working with them on leash and also making them enter the house one at a time. I haven't seen any DRASTIC improvements but I will keep working! Thanks again!
 

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Where are YOU while all this is going on? As Middle suggests, if their toys are inside and they want to get to them, then you could bring the toys outside.

But I have two thoughts. First, lift everything the dogs want off the floor and out of their reach. Remove the goal. This way, they rush in and "What? We raced in here for what?" The only way they get their stuff is to be restrained polite dogs that you know they can be.

Second, and more important, I think what's really going on is that they really want to get to YOU.

I believe that often, we under-valuate the importance we play in our dogs' lives. We think they love their toys and their treats. But my guess is that your dogs really want to be near you, even while they're picking up their Cuz and squeaking it. Is that happy squeaking because they're thrilled you're home?

So where are you? If you're standing inside, maybe you can change that dynamic. As they crash through the door (and presumably do a bit of that racing-around thing) you step outside. Ooop. Look at that, kids. I'm out here. (Remain standing.) Then you only acknowledge the dog that sits nicely and waits for you to do so. (If they're jumpers, start by giving a Sit command first).

You're calm. You're cool. And you're outside. You don't reward crazy behavior anymore. You don't even acknowledge it. Crazy dogs don't exist. You don't even look at them. You're not giving them any reinforcement (telling them No, or otherwise reprimanding them is giving them attention at the end of a long day in which they were likely missing you. So even negative attention is attention.)

But when they're calm and sitting in front of you, you give them CALM attention. A nice treat (that you've pre-loaded into your pockets). In this sort of situation, I like crunchy treats because the dog has to chew them for a while (and make sure he didn't drop any crumbs) which slows him down further). Any sort of biscuity treat, or a handful of Cheerios is good. Calm soothing voice. Everything is Zen in your universe. Tranquility begets tranquility.

This might take a week or two (or longer, depending how crazy they've taught themselves to become). My guess is that it will happen much sooner. My GSD, when he was young, would race all around the house like a crazy man when we let him out of the crate when we got home, jumping, barking, etc. So as soon as we got home, we opened the front door and herded him out there, figuring he could be a mad man out there. The first couple days, I could tell his mind was thinking "Cool! I get to be in the front yard!" (where he doesn't get to play very much). But after a few days, he zipped outside, then came back in much calmer. If he were still excited, back out he went. He wasn't being "punished," but he was being removed from us. The message we were sending was: You can't have our attention until you act like a reasonable dog.

Now, when he's crated, and is released from his crate, he sits in his crate until given a release word. He trots out, casually cruises around the house, grabs a drink of water and comes back and stands quietly or sits for some petting. It's amazing how powerful our attention can be.

I think that often, we don't realize how very important we are in the whole process. And I'm sure your dogs live and breathe for your and your attention!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That is a very interesting theory! I will have to try it here soon. Come to think of it, the typical routine when I get home is to let them inside (making them sit and wait first, of course), where they usually run around, check out the house and come straight back to me. Usually they either grab a toy and want me to play with them or, in the case of my Lab, sit to be petted. I'd be interested to see what would happen if I stayed outside. Thanks for the idea!
 
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