A.J. at the Door

I’ve been working off and on for a long time on A.J.’s behavior at the front door. I haven’t been consistent about training him on front door etiquette because, well, no one ever actually comes to our front door. We couldn’t exactly be classified as social butterflies (or any type of butterflies), so we don’t get a lot of visitors. But on the rare occasion someone does come to the door, A.J. sees it as his job to run out and greet whoever is there. It doesn’t occur to him that whoever is there may not want to be greeted by him. (Hard to believe, but it happens.) So I’ve been slowly working on getting him to sit at the door and not charge out.

I’ve had limited success with this. Because we don’t practice very much, progress has been slow. When the doorbell rings A.J. gets very excited and starts running around barking like crazy. I actually don’t mind the barking, I want whoever is on the other side to know there’s a dog in here. You never know, right? I’ve been making people stand at the door and wait while I’m inside trying to calm A.J. and telling him to “Sit” and “Wait.” Usually when I do this he pops back up as soon as I open the door. Sometimes he waits until I turn my back on him, but he always pops up.

The other night we were eating dinner and the doorbell rang. I thought about not answering because we were eating, but I decided to see who was there. (It was a solicitor for an Internet company.) I went to the door and calmed A.J. down enough to get him to Sit and Wait. I slowly opened the door, still watching A.J. When I turned I saw that, having heard the madly barking dog, the man at the door was standing seven or eight feet back. (I always find that amusing.) He started giving me his spiel, and A.J. stayed put. He talked for quite a while. One time I looked back and A.J. had stood up, but hadn’t moved forward. I told him to sit again, and he did. The solicitor continued with his sales pitch.

I finally made it clear that I wasn’t going to be switching Internet service that day, and the solicitor left. As I was shutting the door I turned to see A.J. still sitting. I shut the door, told A.J. “OK!” and then – we celebrated!! He had been SO GOOD!! That was the first time he actually stayed put the whole time I was at the door, and I was there for at least five minutes. My dinner was getting cold, but instead of sitting back down at the table I grabbed one of A.J.’s toys and we went crazy and played tug. He was so excited, and I was so excited, it was just a very happy day! My crazy little boy sat nicely at the door! YEAH!