Does Your Dog Have Greeting Manners, and know how to properly behave around guests.
If you need a refresher on the sit command you can find that in my post “Free Puppy Training Classes Sit and Stay”.
Once your dog or puppy has learned how to sit, this is the natural progression. It’s time to teach greeting manners.
What are greeting manners?
This is a sit and stay cue in a specified spot for your dog or puppy, when you have guests at the door.
Many puppies and dogs love to jump up on guests. Do you know why they like to do this? This is your dog’s way of communicating a greeting to your incoming guests.
Dogs and puppies that jump up on guests are looking for physical attention (petting). Click To Tweet Attention to your dog is really rewarding.
Let me have Mary, my dog, explain to you how a dog thinks.
Hi Mary here, “ Puppies are silly, I know, I was a puppy once. Let me tell you as a puppy I loved getting attention from the new folks that just came in the door. I couldn’t say hi, how ya doing; so I jumped up to get that person to pay attention to me. I really wanted them to pet me. Why wouldn’t they want to pet me, I’m a cute puppy!
I don’t do this anymore. Mom taught me greeting manners. But I still sometimes let out a bark, just one bark. So my humans know that someone came in the door. Mom said that once they are in the door, she knows they’re here, so I shouldn’t bark. I’m working on it. It’s just one bark, so what’s the big deal.”
Now that Mary has explained how your dog or puppy is thinking. We just need to teach them the correct way to greet guests. As far as her one bark, well we are working on that. She’s an old dog and set in her ways. But even old dogs can be taught new tricks.
Thanksgiving is just a little more than five weeks away, and you will have a lot of guests knocking on your door. Wouldn’t it be nice if your puppy or dog has greeting manners? Click To Tweet
Let me explain how you can accomplish this.
First, I am assuming that you have already taught you puppy or dog how to sit. Sit is one of the first cues we teach our puppies and dogs.
The first one is “focus” I have a post that shows you how to train your puppy to focus or what I like to call “watch me”.
Feel free to review this post, but I will give you a quick recap before we move on to greeting manners.
Focus or Watch Me
“Watch Me” is a training cue that you will use in conjunction with other training commands. This is a cue you want to teach your puppy.
“Watch Me” can be done anytime you have a couple of extra minutes.
- Have several small treats
- Call your puppy over to you
- Have him or her sit facing you
- Take one small treat between your thumb and forefinger
- Bring your fingers that are holding the treat up to your nose
- Say, “watch me”
- Once your puppy has made eye contact with you, praise and immediately reward with the treat
*When praising your dog – you want to say good girl/boy, or good job, pet them. Get a real tail wagging response for the praise and treat. This signifies that your pup has understood he or she has done the cue correctly.
Do this when every you have a few extra minutes. Just sit down and practice this with your puppy, and they will have it in no time.
**If you are clicker training, remember to click the moment you have eye contact. Click and treat.
*** When you are clicker training, be sure to charge up the clicker first. How do you charge a clicker? Easy, click and treat, click and treat, keep repeating this for 10 to 15 treats worth. This helps your dog understand that the sound of the click means good things are coming “a treat”.
To give you a visual on how to charge a clicker, here is a quick 2-minute YouTube video.
Now that you have your dog or puppies attention, lets move on to the rest of the greeting manners training.
Practice this at the door that is the most used. I’m going to assume this will be your front door, where your guests will be showing up. If this is the back door then do this training there. Be sure that once you have trained for the most used entrance for guest, also train for the other entrances in your home.
*Don’t expect a lot from your dog or puppy at Halloween there will be people wearing scary costumes and many unusual activities. This training is for your usual incoming guest. If you start now, Thanksgiving guest will be a good proofing situation to see how well you have practiced.
**Please put a sign on your door, “DOG OR PUPPY IN TRAINING”
IMPORTANT: Outside should be fenced in if your dog has not learned the come cue yet. Otherwise you may end up with a lost dog. Or if you have a doorway with a foyer that has a small area that leads to a screen door before you get to the outside. SAFETY FIRST! If the only area you have fenced in is the back door, start there just for safety’s sake.
When you walk to the front door most dogs will follow you, as they are thinking it’s walk time, or they just want to bolt on past you to get outside.
So here is the step-by-step training.
- Start by walking up to the door.
- If your dog was in the habit of pushing his or her way past you to get to the outside, your dog is no longer allowed to do this.
- Prior to opening the door, say your dog’s name and request a sit. If he or she sits, and makes eye contact, say good dog or whatever your praise words are (good girl, good boy, or good job).
- Slowly begin to open the door, as long as your dog remains focused on you, and remains in the sit position, continue to open the door and step through to the other side of the doorway.
- If you pup breaks focus or gets up from the sit position at any time before you release them, say “no”, and close the door immediately.
*Say “no” don’t yell “no”, we are training and trying to initiate understanding, not discipline. This is positive dog training.
**This is why you open the door slowly, if you see that your dog or puppy is about to bolt, it gives you the opportunity to close it quickly before escape.
- Re-cue the dog to Sit and Focus on you, and try again.
- Continue to open and close the door until he or she waits for you to exit first.
- Once your dog has remained in the seated and focused position until you exit first, then release your dog. You can use the word okay, or whichever word you have chosen to release them.
*Always be conscientious of the words you use for release and cues. You don’t want to use words that are in everyday conversations. You’d be surprised at how much your dog is listening during the day.
Mary here again; If your like my Mom she talks to me all day long, I’ve learned a lot of words. When I was a puppy and she was teaching me stuff, I would sometimes get confused. She would say wait to Dad, and I thought she was telling me to wait. We got it worked out. We both learned a lot back then. One-word cues are easy for us doggies, so Mom started used two-word cues for Dad. It made it a lot easier for me.
Just remember we dogs do listen to you all day, just waiting to hear a word that means something to us. Like the word treat, you’ve seen my treat face haven’t you? I notice Mom and Dad started spelling things, I don’t get that yet, but I bet it means something special. I’ll let Mom get back to tell you about the Greeting Manners now.
- If you find that you need to restart this more than four times, leave the training area and wait at least 10 minutes before you try again.
This will help prevent frustration for both the dog and you.
- If your dog does remain seated and focused, give him or her the release cue, and access to the other side of the door. Getting to go out the door is his or her reward for a job well done. It doesn’t hurt to give a little extra praise like “good job”.
Summary for Training Greeting Manners:
- Practice at the most used door
- Say your dog’s name and say, “sit”
- Make sure your dog is focused on you and they sit
- Praise your dog for obeying the sit cue and remaining focused on you
- Slowly open door
- If your dog remains focused and in the sit position continue to other side of the doorway
- If your puppy breaks focus or gets up, close door and say “no”
- Re-cue dog to “watch me” (focus) and sit”, reward them for obeying command
- Open door slowly. Follow same instructions as before
- Continue until your dog remains focused and sitting
- Once they stay focused and sitting allow access to the outside; this is their reward
- After four attempts if you have not been successful, leave training area for ten minutes
- Try training again
- Rinse and repeat
If you are interested in a particular training cue, or just have any questions, please email me and let me know. I love to hear from readers and your question could become my next post.
Next Tuesday we will talk about training your dog the Sit-Stay Cue. This will help further educate your pup in Greeting Manners.
Paws & Wags,
Suzanne Dean, ABCDT
Mom wanted me to remind you to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss anything. She’ll make sure it get right to your inbox. Follow us on Social Media too, she will have pictures of my treat face (she promised me she would post it) and pretty soon you’ll see my halloween costume too. Here’s the links to follow me oops I mean us. BOL
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