If your dog gets excited around guests, you’re not alone. Many of us have dogs who love people, both those we live with and see every day and those who visit every so often.
But sometimes, your pup might get a little too overexcited, with not even one of the best dog toys distracting them. In some cases, particularly if your guest is a dog lover themselves, it might not be a problem. But if you have an elderly or frail visitor, or someone comes in holding a baby, for example, an overexcited dog could be dangerous.
If you’re struggling with an overexcited dog around guests, and want to know how to stop a dog from jumping up, professional dog trainer and behavioral consultant Amelia Steele – known as Amelia the Dog Trainer – has some advice in a recent Instagram post.
A photo posted by on
In the post, Amelia shares a video of two dogs who like to jump up when there’s somebody at the door. She begins, “First, I have my guest wait outside while I get the dogs’ attention. I work on reinforcing a sit to get them calm and set them up for success.”
When she rewards them, she tries to do so away from the front door. And then, as she continues to focus on the dogs and work with them, she gets her guest to open the door slightly. Gradually, they open the door more and more. But if the dogs rush to the door, they simply close it again.
“Once my guest is able to enter while the dogs stay calm,” Steele says, “I hand them some treats to reward the dogs for sitting.”
For some dogs, learning not to jump up at guests and get too overexcited might not be a lengthy process. But for others, it might take a little while. After all, all dogs are different, and what one dog finds easy another might struggle with.
But regardless, it’s important to stay patient and keep working with the process. And, make sure that any visitors do the same. Particularly if your guest is a dog person themselves, they might be tempted to rush in and fuss over your dog if they’re greeted with an overexcited pup.
However, what this teaches your dog is that they’ll get rewarded when they jump up at somebody – it’s reinforcing that behavior. And, even negative reactions to jumping, like shouting, can reinforce the behavior, because it’s still attention.
If you’re finding it difficult to stop your dogs from jumping up at people, you might find this dog parent’s story helpful: I tried everything to get my dog to stop jumping up, here’s what actually worked.
Get the best advice, tips and top tech for your beloved Pets
Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.