Some dogs go “bananas” when your visitors arrive. For them it is a lot of fun and exiting when people come to visit. Unfortunately, this can be quite annoying as well. Not everybody likes it when a dog jumps all over them and it also scares some people.
Kids can be knocked over by a big dog and generally speaking it will much nicer for everyone if your dog can stay quit and calmly greet your visitors without jumping and/or knocking people over.
Sometimes it just feels impossible to get your dog to listen. It is jumping everywhere on everyone and the more you try to calm it down, the worse it seems to get. Still, there are some dogs who slowly approaches the visitors, sit down in front of them and then slowly and politely greet them. How come some dogs act like this when your dog seems to impossible to control?
Well, there are ways to teach your dog self-control and how to behave when visitors come. It is very difficult however to get a dog to calm down when it is already exited even before the visitors has arrived. The thing here is to get your dog to be calm and then to stay calm when the visitors arrive. This requires some training but is not as difficult as you might think. In this post I will give some tips and tricks on how you can get your dog to keep calm when visitors arrive and how to keep it calm and well-behaved during their visit.
Preparation before the arrival of your visitors.
Your dog needs to be calm before meeting your visitors. If your dog gets exited already before your visitors ring the door bell it is going to be very difficult to get it to stay calm and controlled when your visitors arrive.
You also need to stay calm yourself. Your dog will pick up your behavior and state of mind and if you are nervous or stressed then your dog will follow your example. So stay calm and in control to show your dog that this is the way to behave.
Make sure your dog has had enough exercise. A dog tired by exercise and playing will be easier to get calm than one who is nervous and “wired up” because it has got a lot of excess energy.
How to handle things when the visitors do arrive.
So, now you have prepared yourself. Your dog is calm and relaxed and the doorbell rings. So what do you do now?
As usual when trying to install a certain behavior from your dog, reward good behavior and ignore your dog when it behaves badly. This will make your dog understand that good behavior will get rewarded while bad behavior will get it nowhere. So don’t give your dog any attention when it gets too exited, it will only reinforce that behavior and make it even more exited. Shouting at your dog only makes it worse as by doing this, you give your dog attention and you also show your dog that being exited is a great thing. In an exited state of mind your dog is not going to be able to make the difference between you being exited and happy or upset and annoyed.
This is true to all activities that gets your dog exited, such as for example a walk or a trip in the car or when trying to teach your dog something. To make things run smoothly you need to get your dog calm before starting otherwise it is just not going to work.
You and your family should greet the guests before you allow your dog to do it. Remember, you are the leader so go first and once your family has greeted the visitors then you can let your dog do it.
Here is how you can train your dog by showing him/her that a calm, polite behavior gets rewarded while excitement and jumping will get it detained. You take your dog/puppy to greet the guests (you might want to use leash for better control) if the dog gets over exited and/or start jumping, say:”no you can’t or “too bad” then bring your dog to the closest room, put it inside and close the door. Leave it in there for 30 seconds and then try it all over again. If your dog misbehaves, put it back in the room for 30 seconds and then try again.
The idea with this exercise is to show your dog that calm and polite behavior gets rewarded while excitement and jumping will get it ignored and put away.
Use a leash. Putting a leash on your dog before greeting your visitors will help in controlling your dog when the visitors arrive.
If nothing else helps, isolate your dog in a room or a crate until he/she has calmed down and then take your dog to greet your visitors.
Ask your visitors to ignore your dog until you have all greeted each other, then you call your dog over to greet your guests. Your dog should always greet visitors when he/she is in a calm state of mind, not when he/she is exited.
Once the initial encounter with your guests is finished you then need to get your dog to keep calm. A great way to do this is to make a comfortable and portable space where your dog can relax not far from you and your guests. A mattress or basket will be work well. Then you give your dog a long-lasting tasty treat to keep it busy. For some dogs, a bone will work really well, for others a “Kong” is a great option. A Kong is a dog toy which you fill up with something tasty such as peanut butter, chicken or hot dogs. The dog then has to work a little in order to get the “goodies” out. This can entertain a dog for hours.
The idea is to make this “portable dog space” a great option for your dog, something it values and associates with fun comfort and great tasting treats. If your dog get up and moves away, take the treat with you and then return the treat and the dog to its place.
Exercises that will improve your dog’s self-control
A dog well-trained in obedience will have better self-control and will be easier to control. In order to succeed in keeping your dog calm and calmly and politely greet your visitors there are a few exercises that would be really helpful if your dog masters. A dog who is focused and is trained in keeping still and in control will be much easier to control when visitors are coming. These start with basic exercises like sit, lie down, wait and stay. These exercises are useful even in other situations and they should be practiced regularly.
Keeping a dog calm and well-behaved when visitors arrive is really a matter of teaching your dog self-control and obeying your command. General obedience training where you teach your dog to stay and not move until you give your command will go a long way in improving your dog’s self-control but you also need to train your dog to calmly meet visitors. Some dogs tend to forget all they have learned when there is something new and exiting in front of them such as dog friendly visitors and therefore you must train your dog in meeting that challenge.
Just remember to be patient and to regularly train your dog in obedience and self-control you will soon have a calm and well-mannered dog that will enjoy getting visits just as much as you do.
If you have any comments, tips or experiences you would like to share, please post them below.
All the best,