Training With Respect & Understanding
Dogs can have such a wide range of responses when people come to visit.
From the timid, frightened dog to the territorial protector or the friendly, “I
want to jump on your head to greet you!” . . . all dogs need to be taught
proper meet and greet behaviors. This article is geared to training the dog
who is happy that company has arrived. Please contact me if you need help
with more serious behavioral issues and to learn more about dealing with
fear and territorial aggression at the door.
So company is coming and you know that your dog is going to be a handful
and maybe even an embarrassment! This is not the time to start training, since
this situation would be one of the most difficult. Kindergarten must come before
high school - so your dog needs to be taught the basic skills first. Here are
some steps to teach basic skills leading up to good doggie door manners.
1st Step Teach your dog that he only gets attention when he is sitting. If he starts to jump up, turn your back and walk away without touching him or
making eye-contact. At home as he is approaching you, tell him to sit. Do this before he is within launching distance. Telling him to sit after he’s already
jumping is too late. Praise and pet him when he is calm and sitting so that he learns that this is the way to get attention - not by what comes natural - the
jumping up to the face.
2nd Step Practice with your dog on leash with 1 person at a time. Instruct your friend to calmly approach your dog when he’s sitting and only continue to
the petting stage if he continues to sit. Use food rewards if you need to increase his motivation to sit politely, especially if he is a very friendly, excitable
PLEASE NOTE: In dog training, it is better to build upon success, rather than to repeatedly try and fix a problem or deal with failure. In terms of training -
progress to the next step when your dog can perform the current task. For example, if your dog is having trouble just sitting near another person, do not
progress to the petting stage which is even more arousing and exciting. Don’t progress to several people until your dog can succeed with one person and
3rd Step Now it’s time to start practicing with your leashed dog at the front door. Start with your dog sitting quietly with just one cue that someone is out
there, perhaps the sound of the car in the driveway. When he is calm, then go to the next cue, perhaps the car door slam or the sound of footsteps on the
walkway. Next progress to the doorbell/a knock. After you get your dog calm and you have rewarded his sitting, then ask your helper to knock again - work
on this until your dog can stay calm and seated. Do not progress to the entry through the door and petting until your dog can handle the previous steps.
This may only take several 10 minute or so sessions. Remember repetition is important.
CAUTION: I know it’s tempting to want to rush through these steps to work at the front door when people come over. In my 10 years of professional dog
training, I have seen it time and time again, that the tortoise often wins the race - that you move forward more quickly when you build upon successes and
then progress to the next step, rather than trying to over and over fix the mistakes!!
Final Step Now ask a friend to come over to practice the whole scenario. Don’t do this when you are expecting a dinner party of 4 to arrive - this may not
be the time that you want to be doing dog training. It is important that your dog is on-leash in the beginning. Over time you can build up to an unleashed
dog with groups of people coming over. Remember strong and steady wins the race!!
Please contact me for further information on this or on any other training and obedience issues. You can call me at 209-304-5139 or
E-mail to: Trainer@Dog-B-Good.com