In order to quickly train your dog not to jump on visitors when they arrive I recommend using a raised “place” or bed, something that is a defined space for your dog to be in. A rug or a mat can be a bit ambiguous, and dogs tend to cheat by laying half on and half off when asked to stay in place. By using a raised pet cot or platform for training it’s clear to the dog exactly where they are expected to stay. Using treats, you’ll spend several days luring your dog onto its place and rewarding him for going there. You should practice having your dog stay on his place while you go to the door and pretend to let someone inside. You should rehearse, by yourself, what it looks like when someone arrives. You might feel silly but it’s important to play the part if you’re going to train your dog properly. If your dog has a hard time staying in his place put a leash on him so that you can easily lead him back every time he gets off. You must be consistent with this. After several more days of rehearsing going to and staying on “place” with pretend visitors, it’s time to introduce a real guest! The first real guest that arrives will be challenging for your dog so be prepared to grab his leash and take him back to his place. Be firm, but fair. Getting to greet a guest is highly rewarding so you cannot let your dog say hi to the visitor unless he does a great job staying on his place. Otherwise, you’ll continue to accidentally reinforce excitability, jumping, and a variety of other behaviors that are not so polite. Don’t forget to offer treats when your dog chooses to stay in his place, and be sure to quickly release your dog to come say hi to the guest as a reward for great behavior. If he gets too excited, send him back to his place. The more guests you have over the more opportunities you have to practice polite greetings. Your dog will learn that being calm and waiting in his place gives him access to say hi to guests.
This article originally appeared in the April Issue of Key Biscayne Magazine