Nemo, like many other young dogs, greets my guests with a little too much enthusiasm. Jumping and licking visitors is perfectly normal for excitable dogs but is something that many people would rather change about their dog. You can change this behaviour through practice and consistency. There are many ways to teach a dog to say hello nicely, this is just one.
The prerequisite skills you need will include ‘sit’ and ‘sit and focus’, these are the skills I have used with Nemo in my video link below.
In order for your dog to understand how he needs to behave when guests arrive you will need to set up mock scenarios of people arriving through your door. During these scenarios your dog will become more and more calm allowing him to absorb what you are trying to teach him. When the ‘real thing’ happens your dog will be much more successful at understanding what his role is when guests arrive.
During these practice sessions it is best to have your dog on lead to avoid him escaping through your front door. Take some high value treats and practice reinforcing your dog looking at you and ignoring your guests. Let your guests know before you open the door that you are training your dog and to please ignore any of your dogs’ advances. Your guests can interact with your dog when your dog settles down.
Often dogs are the most excited for the first 10-15 minutes when your guests arrive. After this time the majority of dogs will have considerably calmed down. This means that you will only have to work your dog through the first part of your guests stay.
I find using this method of ‘sit and focus’ much more successful that teaching a ‘stay’ while answering the door. The biggest risk with a ‘stay’ is that as you open the front door your dog may see something outside and bolt through the open door. Teaching ‘stay’ is also much more time consuming to teach than ‘sit and focus’, particularly with the addition of guests as a distraction. For time-poor people ‘sit and focus’ is much easier.
As you can see from the video you can use the sit and focus even when you are answering the door on your own, although you may like to begin this skill with another person answering the door, allowing you to concentrate more on your dog.
To watch a video of Nemo’s training in action when guests come to my house click below.