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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA

The Family Dog

Three Dogs and Two Babies:
Teaching Your Dog a Polite Greeting

No other circumstances announce more loudly that your dog needs more training than when you add a new baby to your household. The formerly well behaved dog who use to lay at your feet while you watched television is now desperate for attention, and will do just about anything to get it. This includes getting into the trash, reverting back to destructive chewing and housebreaking mistakes on your favorite carpet. All these things seem to happen on the days when your new baby is particularly demanding, sick or won't sleep !

The number one complaint among new parents however, is that their dog jumps on people who come to visit. This impolite mugging of the unsuspecting guest may be your dog's last hope for attention, or perhaps he just realizes that you're too busy to do anything about it. Meanwhile, the list of people who will brave the storm of greeting from your dog is getting smaller and smaller. Let's face it, the last thing a new parent needs right now is to lose friends. Taking care of a young baby is very isolating and we need all the visitors we can get ! There are several things you can do to help your dog learn that he must not jump or mouth visitors whether you are busy or not.

  1. Set your pooch up for success by having a leash, treats and a clicker by the front door.
  2. Put your baby in a safe place nearby so that your hands are free to train your dog.
  3. Put your foot on the leash and give one command to sit, if she sits click and treat.
  4. If your dog doesn't sit on the first command show her how to with a cookie and click and treat.
  5. If they are willing have your guests practice this with your dog for a few minutes.
  6. Put a basket of toys by the front door and have the visitor hand your dog his favorite toy to curb excited barking.
  7. Put a chair close to the door so that the guest can sit to greet your dog. This takes some of the excitement out of the greeting and may help your dog to calm down quicker
  8. Make sure you use the very best treats for this exercise.
  9. If your dog prefers toys or games to food, try pairing the click for sitting with a short game of fetch.
  10. If you are unable to train your dog when a guest arrives, make it a rule that your dog does not get to greet that person.

If you want to bring about real change and help your dog to learn that he must remain calm when greeting visitors you must practice often, heavily reinforce the right behavior and prevent your dog from practicing the wrong behavior. If your dog is allowed to continue to mug people at the door this will reinforce the wrong behavior and make it more likely that he will practice jumping in the future.

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