As a professional dog trainer one of the most common complaints are dogs that are too hyper when guests come over to visit. I also understand that many guests reinforce this hyper behavior. You can create your dog to be more calm when guests visit through consistent dog training. Salt Lake City is full of dog owners and one of the first steps is to enroll your guests into supporting you with the dog training. This is needed to create ultimate obedience.
Here are some suggestions that I recommend.
1.) Reward your dog when he is not jumping and is performing settled behavior. Settle behavior can include sitting and downing. When your dog is settled c/t (click and treat). Ignore your dog for any jumping or hyper behavior that he is performing as long he is not hurting anyone or destroying anything in your house. Your dog will learn that when he is settled this is when he receives the attention.
2.) Have your dog be on leash when guests come over. This will prevent your dog from running everywhere. Your dog will be gently forced to stay in one location. This can also be nice if your guest does not like dogs. You can easily keep your dog away from that guest. I would highly recommend that you combine this leash technique with “#1” as well.
3.) Ensure that your guest is not reinforcing your dog for jumping. This can be easily solved with some people having a quick conversation about dog training. Salt Lake City has many knowledgeable dog owners. If some of your guests are not enrolled into helping you, I suggest enrolling others that are willing to help you. You can avoid having the guests over at your place that are not open to helping you with dog training. Instead, meet somewhere else or go to their place. For the guests that are willing to help you, tell them to ignore your dog when he is hyper and to only give your dog attention when he is settled.
4.) Ignore your dog for being hyper and avoid giving attention to the jumping behavior. Talking to your dog, looking at your dog and petting your dog are all actions that you want to avoid while your dog is being hyper. When he is performing settled behavior, you can then give him attention.
5.) When your dog jumps on or your guests you can have them turn their back to your dog. This will help your dog understand that jumping is the removal of attention and will help with training obedience. Then c/t when your dog settles.
6.) If you have your dog on leash you can have your guest walk away from your dog instead of just turning their back. You are holding the leash and keeping your dog in one spot. As the guest walks away your dog cannot follow them. As a result, they learn that jumping creates guests to walk away. If your dog is in a sit while the guest is near them, you or the guest can give your dog attention. Yea to training obedience!
7.) When your dog jumps on you or your guest while you are sitting you can stand up slowly. Standing up will automatically cause your dog to have to get off of you and onto the floor. He will learn pretty quickly that jumping on you while you are sitting means that you will remove yourself from the situation. This withdrawal of attention will lessen the behavior. Again you will want to give your dog attention for when he is laying down or sitting on the floor next to you or your guest.
8.) Training your dog to go to his bed on command can also work wonders in creating your dog to be more obedient.
9.) Telling your dog “no” or “off” while your dog is jumping can actually reward the jumping the behavior. Negative attention can be attention for many dogs. Again, we strongly advise to not talk to your dog while he is jumping and being hyper. Instead give reinforcement when he settles.
10.) If your dog doesn’t want to sit or down, you can start by rewarding a stand. Then eventually progress to rewarding a sit or down instead. Here is a great example, your dog is walking toward the guest with four feet on the floor. Click while your dog has four feet on the floor. Once he reaches the guest he will probably be jumping. By clicking before he reaches the guest you will be rewarding your dog for having four feet on the floor. If your dog is excited about receiving a treat, after you click, he will turn to you to receive the treat.
We hope this supports you in creating a more peaceful household with your guests! Of course if you need more support please ask for it. Consistency is important for successful dog training. Salt Lake City has many options for reward-based dog training support.
We want to hear from you in a comment below!
What questions do you have in creating a more peaceful household with guests?
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City