Holiday Guests are on the Way – Teach your Dog How to Greet Them!
Brought to you by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – the AKC’s 7-day-a-week training support service
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
Holidays are coming, and for many that means lots of company. It will be so nice to see friends and family! Your dog agrees and leaps in the air to get closer to their faces.
Now is the time to teach him the acceptable way to greet your visitors. Once he understands, he will gladly do what it takes to get a chance to show his love.
It’s easy to get upset with your dog for his exuberant welcomes, but know that he is just demonstrating his happiness at having a visitor. Dogs greet each other by licking their faces, and by jumping up they are simply trying to get to where they can greet humans this way.
Sometimes dogs try even harder when people respond by pushing them away – it is still attention, even if it is negative. Instead of punishing him for jumping, teach him what you want him to do.
It is up to us to teach what we consider proper greetings. Begin with your own family. When you return home after an absence, be calm. Ignore the jumping. Do not look at or speak to the dog. Cross your arms and don’t let him meet your hand in the air for petting. At first, it will seem like he will never settle down, but he will, and when all four feet are on the floor, calmly greet and pet him. Immediately say “Uh oh!” and withdraw your attention if he pops back up again. It may take a couple of weeks to change his behavior because he’s been jumping on you for a long time, but this does work.
“Dogs greet each other by licking their faces, and by jumping up they are simply trying to get to where they can greet humans this way. “
Give the dog something to do at greeting time by asking for a sit when you or your friends come into the house. Again, no attention whatsoever should be given unless he is sitting.
It’s a little harder with other people, because they need to be trained too. Let friends and family members know that you are training your dog. Do not let them give any attention when he is jumping. Until he is trained, put him in his crate with a treat when the doorbell rings.
The doorbell is a cue that someone is there and needs to be greeted. By now, you have already taught the dog that the doorbell is a big deal because you drop everything and rush straight to the door every time it rings. Though unintentional, this is a great example of the effectiveness of consistency in training.
Change how you react to the doorbell. Stay very calm yourself when it rings, sometimes not even going to the door. Dogs are very good at picking up on the cues we give them as to how they should react to things.
Another very good way to prevent jumping is to teach “go to your place.” Here is how: http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/canine-partners/spotlight/teach-your-dog-to-go-to-its-place/
Enlist family members and friends to ring the doorbell so you can practice. At first, you probably won’t even get to the door. That’s okay. Just get your dog to go to his place when the bell rings, and if he gets up and heads for the door, give him an “Uh oh!” and get him back on the mat. Eventually, he will learn that good things happen when he stays at his “place.”
Soon your dog will know exactly what to do in order to be greeted like everyone else in the family.