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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Training your Dog for Holiday Visitors: Lesson 1

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Time to Practice our Greetings

This year my holiday "To Do" list has something unexpected on it--work with my dogs on their manners. It's not that they are unfriendly; quite the opposite in fact. They are too friendly sometimes, when the doorbell rings and company comes to call. Such is the way during the holidays.

I'd like to hang a sign on the door; something like:

Dear guests:

Please enter calmly. 
Make no eye contact with the dogs. 
Create no excitement.

I know. I know. That would just be plain weird. But the excitement of guests is definitely a contributing factor to the excitement my dogs display when someone arrives.

My plan was to create a Greeting Place, somewhere within view of the front door,where I would send the dogs when the doorbell rings. I tested it a few times with Tanner, who is very accomplished at the STAY command. It seemed to have potential.

The problem is quite simply that I am not there to do the training. With a family member sick, I find myself out of town. The dogs are in the hands of hubby, who definitely has his hands full. With 3 dogs and a cat, hubby is busy with walking, feeding and cleaning up after a houseful of playful animals who are happy to see him after a long day at work. Doubtful training will even make an appearance on his "To Do" list.

Nevertheless, I can share my plan with those of you who would like to work on your own dog's door manners. It is very simple, really:

  1. Ring the doorbell and send your dogs to their "place", "spot", "bed" or other permanently named location for greeting.
  2. I will use the commands, STAY and DOWN, to get the message across further.
  3. Treat the pups after I pet them, if they stay put in their spots.
  4. Release them after a short stay and practice again.
  5. Repeat several times a day, and Thanksgiving could mean calmer greetings from my "happy-to-meet-you" pups.
Oh well. Maybe at Christmas time; it just was not destined to happen before Thanksgiving. I'll keep it on my To Do list. What about you?

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An 8th generation Floridian said...

If I went to a door and read a sign that said "enter calmly, no eye contact, etc.", I'd be terrified that you had a biting dog and probably turn around and hi-tail (pun intended) it back to my car! Your post is exactly how we were taught at the dog obedience class. We also were taught to use the "back" command too, so the dog will back away from guests if doggie gets too overbearing once they are acknowledged. When Juliet knows I am home, she doesn't rush the door, but if she thinks I am not home, she's yipping and biting the glass like a rabid maniac. *blush*

P. said...

I say go with the sign! Sounds like a wonderful idea to me. And as someone who hasn't completed her to do list for the new year (2009), ha, I'd probably have more luck with the sign.

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