by Nicole Ellis, Certified Animal Trainer & Pet Lifestyle Expert
Even the most well-behaved dog can set off a bad impression to your friends or family members when they arrive at your house by jumping all over them. In some cases, such as with small children or with a senior family member, it can actually be dangerous. But don’t worry, with a few days of practice, your dog can show off what a good boy (or girl) they are as soon as your friends get to the door!
Practice Makes Perfect!
You’ll want to start practicing this a few times before your friends come over. This will set your pups up for success and help you control their excitement.
Have you ever noticed that dogs in trick performing groups or lions in the circus are on elevated platforms? There’s a reason for it! To start, I put something elevated by my front door that is sturdy enough to hold your dog. I use a training platform, but ottomans work great too! If you don’t have these, you can try a larger dog bed. By using an elevated platform off the ground, our dogs learn to stay easier, have a solid spot they understand to stay on and can’t sneak off of like a bed. When elevating a dog, we take them further away from the ground which holds the things they like such as toys, excitement and saying 'hi' to his human friends.
For just a few minutes a day, I’ll lead my dog with a treat over to the platform and reward him for jumping up and sitting on it. Simple, right?
Once your dog has mastered this and learned that sitting there means really good things, have a friend or family member come over to help you practice for a few minutes. Start simple by having them walk in and ignore your dog, while you ask your dog to get up on their elevated platform and sit. As you reward him for going up on his platform, your friend should go over and give him some attention and say, 'hello'.
In the beginning, he will probably jump off to see your friend and that’s okay, simply ask your friend not to pet or reward him when he’s not on his platform and lead him back over there to repeat.
Once he’s calmed down, give him a verbal cue that he can get off (mine is a simple ‘okay’). Often, once they have said their first initial 'hello', the jumping will subside and they will calm down.
Repeat this a few times with different people and soon your dog will learn to get the attention he needs by sitting up on his platform, saying 'hi', and not be jumping on anyone.
A few important tips:
- Communicate to your friends that you’re training your pup and to help you by not petting or rewarding him until he is sitting calmly on his platform.
- Have your best treats ready!
- If you have an over-enthusiastic pet that has a hard time calming down, consider giving your dog a Skout’s Honor Calming Soft Chew 30 minutes before your friends come over to help set your pet up for success until they have mastered this behavior.
- Lastly, remember to keep it fun! Don’t get frustrated if your dog jumps off. It will take a few tries, but stay positive and have fun together.
In no time you’ll have calmer, under-control greetings at your door too!
Nicole Ellis, Certified Animal Trainer & Pet Lifestyle Expert