Pleased to meet you – Sympathy for the visitor

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During training classes, here at Positive Dog Training, we often talk to clients about how the family dog meets and greet people who visit your home. A polite greeting can make all the difference to a stress-free evening with friends or a downhearted night apologising again and again for Fidos enthusiastic jump onto them as soon as they walked in the door!

While most of us dog people do not mind some hair and drool on our clothing and we all secretly loved the happy dance of arrival our beautiful dogs give us when we get home every day, there are many reasons why, from a safety and point of view, it’s a good idea to work with your dogs and train them as to how you would like them to behave when people call in.

The bark – 2 types of barking can come into play in this instance. One we would call alert barking, when in the dog is barking to let you know that they have seen or heard something that is out of the ordinary and the second is we would call excitable barking, where in the dog is vocalising its excitement at something that is about to happen.

Lets set the scene

The doorbell ring and the dog goes bananas, what happens next? What does your dog see and hear, does it all become a great fun game? You jump up from where ever you are and begin chastising the dog, maybe try to move him out of the hallway and into another room, or maybe you hold them back by the collar as they twist and turn and try and greet your guest? It really doesn’t have to be this way and with a little time, some treats and the wish to work to charge this behaviour you can turn chaos into calm.

Train an alternative behaviour and set your dog up for success:

  1. Control and management options. Can you safely restrict your dog access to the front door where they can still see who is arriving? A good quality baby gate can be fantastic for this. Your dog can see the person arrive, you then have the option to ask for a sit or another behaviour that your dog knows well and have your dog calm and focused before you let them greet the guest at your pace.
  2. Training a settle – have your dog go to bed/settle on cue.
  3. Pair the sound of the doorbell with a wait or a stay. This is great fun and easy to do and a good way to get the whole family involved in training your best friend. All that you need is a mat/dog bed/towel and some tasty treats, a friend to ring the doorbell and a little bit of patience. How?? The doorbell rings, you run to back of house with some tasty treats and toss onto the dog bed area. Repeat, repeat, repeat. When you see that your dog is beginning to understand the game, start to gradually build up the duration of time of the bed, the distance you are from the bed and finally the distraction of someone entering the house. Training your dog to be calm around visitors is not just an exercise that we recommend for large breed dogs but also small dogs and puppies. If you would like any help with this type of training or have any question give our training team a call on 01 9013018.
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