Monday, November 12, 2012

The importance of calm greetings - Part 1

Getting your new puppy or newly adopted dog involved in a training program can prevent assist in opening the lines of communication between you and your dog. 

When your dog arrives in your home, they speak a different language.  They need to be coached on what the ground rules are in your home and reinforced positively for making good decisions. 
Sure maintaining a sense of structure like asking your dog to get on their bed when people arrive is a good thing. 
How one goes about it is important.  When asking your pup to do something specific when an event happens, (i.e: someone entering your home)  is a great idea in theory.  The goal that may be desired is to prevent any jumping up on your visitors.  Something that I come across is guarded behavior from the dog that is 'man handled' when the dog fails to do the task requested. What I mean by 'man-handled' is frequently yelled at to get back on their bed or physically made to.

What this creates for the dog is when someone comes over, tension rises in the home and visiting people are a time of stress.  Your dog may see this as you get stressed, and they feel that too.  

How this impacts your dog long term? Greetings become stressful.  Greetings with anyone that comes in your home and anywhere near it potentially. 

Depending on your Dog's current state at the time of greetings with people and other dogs, this may need some behaviour shifts from you and your dog.

Tip #1- Allow your dog to say hello with a sit first and releasing them to greet someone.
Tip #2- If your dog is on leash during greetings with dogs or people, ideally maintain a slack leash during the interaction. This prevents any unnecessary stress being fed through the leash and collar/harness your dog has attached to them.
Tip #3- If your dog is not wearing a collar when greetings are challenging at the home level, simply placing a leash and collar/ harness on them during visitors arrival and departure for two weeks can help restructure the excitement or stress that shows up during this time.

Training your dog to happily welcome and accept house guests inside the home is an important step in having greetings outside the home, become welcoming and calmer as well.

If you or someone you know requires some assistance with their dog - please forward this article to them or have them contact for a free phone consultation.

Happy Training!

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