How to Train your Puppies to have Greeting Manners

Good greeting behavior can be much more difficult. Unlike people, most dogs have to go through a greeting ritual with everyone, even if they’ve only been gone minutes. This is one of those intrinsic behaviors discussed earlier. Some dogs want to jump up and lick your lips (a submissive gesture); others try to barrel you over roughly (definitely not submissive). The fact that we stop actually invites the dog to jump up, and when we push them away with our hands, it’s an invitation to play harder. If you don’t want your dog jumping on you, practice completely ignoring him for three minutes or so after you come home. Better yet, walk through the house into a back room and get busy with something. By the time you actually greet your dog, you’ll be old hat. Of course, most people want their dogs to greet them (sometimes the dog is the only member of the family who’s glad you came home) and actually encourage excited greetings.

The Ignoring Game If your dog greets you enthusiastically, chances are he’ll do the same for your guests. The ignoring game works for your friends, but sometimes they’re not as comfortable just walking into your house after you’ve opened the door. If you want to try it, tell them in advance what you’d like them to do. When you open the door, they should walk all the way into the house to a designated spot, open a cookie jar, ask your dog to sit, and give him a treat or two.

Using treats

An alternative method of discouraging rough greetings is to place a bowl of small crispy treats right outside the door. When your guest comes in, he or she should scatter some of the little treats on the floor, purposely allowing a few to hit the dog on the head. Most dogs will get busy looking for the food and will forget all about greeting. After a while they’ll expect the treats and will make do with one from the hand. Eventually—when the behavior is very reliable—you can randomly reinforce with treats.

Teaching sit

If you start early and only have one dog, it’s quite possible to teach him to sit for your guests. You should practice at any door through which your guests might arrive. You’ll begin by teaching him to stay in a sit when the door is opened. At first, you and your family members will be the “guests” who come through the door. You should ask your dog to sit about 10 feet away from the door, far enough that it can open without banging into him. Stand next to him, holding his leash. When he’s in place, encourage a family member or friend to open the door. If he stands up, say, “Oops” or “Too bad” or something equally condescending, and close the door. Ask him to sit again in the same place, and go through the same process. He needs to stay sitting the entire time the door is opening and until the “guest” is inside. Then, lavishly reward him while he is still sitting. Make sure you give him his treats at “sit” level so he doesn’t feel the need to jump for them. If you have a very enthusiastic dog, you might even drop a few treats on the ground after you release him to discourage jumping up. Ideally, you should reach a point where you don’t have to give him a verbal cue at all. He should just go to the door, sit, and wait for the reward.

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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