Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99


Lifestyle Pets Unleashed

Ask the pet expert: door anxiety

Bentley, a Jack Russell, was rescued at 8 weeks old. When someone leaves my house, he races to the door and jumps against it, barking. If I go out with someone, he goes to the door agressively, like to bite or nip. He has nipped someone before. I now either crate him prior to someone coming or lock him in another room. This behavior isn't any different with people he knows or strangers. What do I do?

Putting Bentley in a separate room or a crate is a good start — you don't want him to keep rehearsing this behavior until you've taught him what is appropriate. You'll want to work on training at low-excitement times when there aren't a lot of distractions. First, set up a dog bed across the room where Bentley can have a nice long-lasting treat — a frozen kong, a safe bone or chew toy that he really likes. Be careful Bentley doesn't see you get the goodie (this is the hardest part). Then, call Bentley to that spot and give him the goodie. Praise him when he engages with it. Do this several times a day for a few days, until just calling him to you when you're near this spot means he runs over and jumps on his bed. You're ready for the next step. Walk over to the front door, touch the doorknob, then call him over and give him a treat on his bed. Have several people practice this with him repeatedly until Bentley starts to head for the bed as soon as he sees someone touch the door. Then, start leaving a goodie on the bed in advance, and rehearse by opening the door just a foot or two, then closing it again and praising him while he's chewing on his goodie. He'll need continued practice, but you've successfully taught him to send himself to the other side of the room when someone goes to the door.

This week's expert is Amie Glasgow, a behavior and training coordinator at the Maryland SPCA (mdspca.org). Submit your questions to unleashed@baltsun.com.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Ask the pet expert: chewing paper
    Ask the pet expert: chewing paper

    How can I get my cat to stop tearing and eating paper?

  • Ask the pet expert: dandruff
    Ask the pet expert: dandruff

  • Cats in hats
    Cats in hats

    What started as a lark — and to honor the grandmother who taught her to knit — has turned into steady work for Sara Thomas, author of "Cats in Hats: 30 Knit and Crochet Patterns for Your Kitty" (Running Press, March 2015). Here are some photos.

  • In Alaska, a wood bison is born in the wild, the first in a century
    In Alaska, a wood bison is born in the wild, the first in a century

    It’s a baby wood bison! The wood bison calf — part of a herd reintroduced into the wild in Alaska — was born last week, the first new critter of its type to draw breath in the wild in more than 100 years.

  • The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures
    The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures

    Historic fixtures from the Owl Bar, including bar stools and six wooden banquettes that the restaurant's operators say date back to 1903, will be put up for auction on May 31.  A portion of the proceeds from the auction of the fixtures and other donated items will benefit the Baltimore Animal Rescue...

  • March for the Animals is postponed
    March for the Animals is postponed

    Update: The Maryland SPCA says, "To assure the comfort and safety of everyone planning to attend today's March for the Animals, we have decided to postpone the March. We want to be sure that all attendees are able to participate without concern. We are disappointed, surely, but know we will all...