Polite Holiday Greeting Tips for Eager Dog Hosts

The holidays mean plenty of new people to meet at the door—which could be a problem for welcoming dogs.

Many dogs love meeting new people. And when new people come to the house for a holiday gathering, the excitement can be a little overwhelming. And in your dog’s haste to say hello, he may jump all over your guests…and they may not like this invasion of their personal space.

Here’s how to stop your dog from jumping up on and barking at your guests.

Barking Out of Control

Out-of-control barking can ruin a gathering, but dogs don’t see it that way. Your dog may think that these guests are stepping foot on their territory, and that doesn’t jive with their protective instincts. While this is great for guarding duties, it’s not so great every time someone comes to the door (especially if you in a condo or apartment building).

Before your shindig starts, it’s time to teach your dog to bark on command:

  • With treats in hand, ask a friend or family member to wait outside your front door while you wait inside with your dog.
  • Text or call your helper and tell them to knock or ring the doorbell in order to get your dog to bark.
  • As soon as your dog barks, mark the behavior by saying “Good” or using a clicker then reward him with a treat.
  • Repeat this sequence a few times.
  • Give a verbal command before ringing the doorbell; “Speak” usually works well.
  • Keep these up with your dog, saying “Speak” just before ringing the doorbell and only rewarding him when he speaks on command.

Once your dog has gotten the hang of this training sequence, it’s time to move teach him to stop barking on command.

Use the training sequence above, but this time around, don’t reward your dog for barking. Instead, after you tell him “Good”, use a “Hush” command. When he stops barking, say “Good” again and give him the treat. Repeat as necessary until your dog responds consistently to the “Speak” and the “’Hush” commands.

Jumping Up on Guests

Overly eager greeters are famous for jumping up on guests and covering them with kisses. Sure, it’s cute when he’s a puppy, but that doesn’t translate when your dog gets older…and heavier! Try this training sequence:

  • Have a friend or family member stand outside the front door of your house while you wait inside with your dog (have some treats on hand as well).
  • Ask your friend to ring the doorbell and enter the house, ready to respond as soon as the dog jumps up.
  • When your dog jumps up, have your friend immediately turn around and ignore the dog, keeping her arms held close to her body.
  • Wait for your dog to calm down and to stop jumping up. Follow this with a response of “Good” and let your friend turn around and pet him calmly for a few seconds.
  • Repeat this training sequence as needed until your dog gets the hang of it.

Even if most of the people you have over to your house are dog lovers, not everyone likes to be attacked by a ball of friendly fur. A well-trained and well-behaved dog is a great asset to any holiday gathering!

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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