Teach Your Deaf Dog the “Go To Spot”

Since I get so many folks asking me about their deaf and hearing dogs going crazy the moment they walk in the door when they get home, I want to share with all of you what we do  here at our Deaf Dogs Rock Headquarters (with all of our deaf and hearing dogs). We have what is called our “go to spot”. What that means is there is a bed in the kitchen and when ever I point to that bed, all the dogs have to go to that spot, sit down and wait patiently and then they get a treat. If you have a rule “no dogs in the kitchen” then set your “go to spot” up in another room. Start by setting up an area where you can have a treat jar filled with doggy biscuits but make sure the jar is up high where they can’t get to it.

At mealtime we also ask each dog to “sit” and “wait”  (they are fed in five different locations and are separated) before their dish gets set down on the floor. This a good training habit to get in because once they learn their “go to spot” giving them all the “sit” and “wait” sign is easy because they do these two commands at every meal.

Deaf dogs Nitro and Bud waiting for their treat in their “go to” spot in the kitchen.

Start by pointing to the spot, lure your dogs to the spot with a treat in your closed hand when you start off the “go to” training. Ask all your dogs to sit by giving them your sit sign (or say the command for your hearing dogs). Do this several times a day everyday. You can also make a treat sign. I taught all my dogs the ASL treat sign early on so when they are all the way out in the back of the yard and I flash them the “treat” sign, they all come running to the back door.  When they get to the back door, I open the door and point for them all to go to their “go to spot”. What happens is they all rush to the kitchen, sit and wait patiently until I divvy out all the treats (since there is 5 dogs here right now and three are deaf).

Sometimes they just lay on their “go to” spot hoping for a treat and then fall asleep waiting. This is good because I can keep an eye on them.

When my husband used to come home at night my dogs would go crazy and scratch at the door until he would walk in the door. I needed to find a way to get their attention on me to calm them. Now when the dogs start scratching and jumping at the door, I walk up to them, give him a treat sign and point to the go to spot. If just one of the dogs heads over to the Go To Spot then the rest of them will follow. As soon as I give the treat sign, they all forget about my husband walking in the door.  We get over to the spot where the treat jar is located and I treat them a couple of treats each so he can walk in the door without getting pounced on. My husband Chris also makes a point of ignoring them when he walks in the door. By the time they are done eating their treats, they calmly walk up to him and say hi so it is no big deal when someone walks in the door. Consistency is key when it comes to this training. Do it often!

When I come home, and the dogs are jumping all over the door, I give them the treat sign before I unlock the door (their heads will all tilt at the same moment when I give them the treat sign) and then I point to their “go to spot. When they see the me do the treat sign and point to the go to spot all five dogs run into the kitchen.  They immediately sit down and wait for me to give them each a treat. I do incorporate the “wait” sign to make them wait a few seconds each time. This is a fun training game and very easy way to teach your dogs to calm down when you or visitors walk in the door.

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Photo above: You can also set up an outside “go to spot” for your dogs. Mine is our shed with a porch. I just point and they run and jump on the porch and wait for me at the top of the stairs. 

lean treats

I buy the Lean Treats on Amazon Prime so the dogs don’t gain weight. Lean Treats are soft and it is easy to break them into little pieces. I like them because I don’t have to worry about my three small dogs choking on them (hard biscuits are a choke hazard when the dogs are excited). I also perform the “go to spot” when the pups are playing to rough in the house.

I sure hope this little tip helps all of you train your excited dogs to calm down when someone walks into your house. Always instruct your family and friends to ignore the dogs when they walk in. I have friends who are crazy dog people who want to spoil my dogs when they walk in the door so I give them very strict instructions before they walk through the door.

Happy training Rockers!

Christina, Nitro, and Bud

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