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.
- Set your pooch up for success by having a leash, treats and a clicker by
the front door.
- Put your baby in a safe place nearby so that your hands are free to
train your dog.
- Put your foot on the leash and give one command to sit, if she sits
click and treat.
- If your dog doesn't sit on the first command show her how to with a
cookie and click and treat.
- If they are willing have your guests practice this with your dog for a
- Put a basket of toys by the front door and have the visitor hand your
dog his favorite toy to curb excited barking.
- 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
- Make sure you use the very best treats for this exercise.
- If your dog prefers toys or games to food, try pairing the click for
sitting with a short game of fetch.
- 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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