by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
The knock comes at the door and all of a sudden there is a stampede of fur, fluff and doggy breath hurtling toward, the door readying itself to pounce upon your guest. We hate it, our guests hate it, and all that happens is the dog gets more attention, you get frustrated, and your guest is on edge. It's rare to find a dog that won't jump up on guests without training; for the majority of you pet owners who do have to deal with jumper dogs, here are some tips to keep your dog off your guests.
Think about it: the concept of dogs jumping to greet people at the door is natural. They see us talking at eye level, and they want to be at eye level, too. So they jump to try to get up to eye level and greet the person at the door, but what results is a frustration as people then push the dog away (an action that some dogs consider to be playtime) and yelling.
There are a couple of ways to try and cure the problem of having a dog jump at you when you enter the house. You can simply ignore the dog. When you enter your house, cross your arms over your chest and look straight ahead or up at the sky. Until it calms down, pretend the dog isn't there at all. Dogs can often be like children in that they respond to attention, and so if you don't give them the kind of attention you shouldn't, then just ignore. It may cause more initial commotion and frustration, but will likely pay off! You might want to set some of its favorite toys next to the door so you can throw it at the ground when you enter the house in order to divert its attention.
Another tactic is to get a friend to help you. Ask the other person to ring the doorbell 10 times every 30 seconds. You should sit in your living room as if nothing is going on. Completely ignore the doorbell. Your dog at first might jump toward the door. But as the doorbell ringing persists, it will stop.
Also, you might want to try tying up your dog at a certain spot every time the doorbell rings. It can be your dog's spot to go when the doorbell rings. Eventually you can then take your dog off its leash and start teaching it to sit in that spot when the doorbell rings and tell it to "stay," in order to make a positive door greeting. This tactic is a little harder to implement, because when the doorbell rings you have to take the time to tie up your dog before answering the door, and in a family, who answers the door when, is a little hard to regulate.
There is one thing you must keep in mind: you definitely need to reward your dog for the adopting the new behavior. If you don't, it will likely break the habit and go back to the old , irritating behavior.
Even though your reaction to the jumping is not pleasant, it is attention, and it's the attention rewards the dog. To break this habit, you need to establish the rules and implement quality training techniques. Once you do, you, your guests, and ultimately your dog will be happier!
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