How do I introduce my dog to guests in my home?

Michigan Dog Training, train your dog not to jump

Dogs accepting people into your home can be frustrating. Whether your dog is overly excited or fearful aggressive toward them, it takes training and patience to teach your dog to accept friendly visitors into your home.

With either situation, it’s important to desensitize your dog’s reaction to the sound of knocking or the door bell ringing. You can do this by pairing the sound of either with a tasty food treat. Don’t worry, your dog won’t learn to never bark as I know people still want their dog to alert them to visitors. They will still bark. We just want to reduce your dog’s level of reactivity to the sound so your dog remains in a thinking state of mind instead of a panic reactive state of mind.

To do this, have a family member the dog knows well knock on the door or ring the bell while standing indoors. Yes, the dog will know it’s them doing it but we want to start with easy exercises so your dog can have lots of success. Later, the family member can stand outside while knocking or ringing the bell. Have your dog on leash and when the sound is triggered, stuff your dog with a tasty treat. This way your dog won’t have time to bark. Repeat with many repetitions, and then reward your dog with the treat after he shows a few seconds of calmness upon the sound being triggered. At some point, your dog will look to you when the sound is triggered, when he does, reward with a treat. I call this desensitization process; 1. Stuff a dog, 2. Reward a dog, and then on the dog’s own terms, 3. he’ll look to you for the treat upon hearing the sound.

Michigan Dog Training, German Shorthair Pointer, Plymouth, Michigan, Place command

Hunter on place while Michael writes this blog post.

I also recommend teaching your dog to go to “place” which is a pre-determined location such as a place board, dog bed, or other item to go to and sit or lay down on. Once, on the place board; they can sit, lay down, change positions, etc. as it’s a location not a position. The place board should be within 15-20 feet of the front door and within viewing distance. That way your dog is more likely to stay on “place” if he/she can see what is happening at the door. You will teach your dog to stay on place despite three factors: 1. Duration of time on place, 2. Distractions, and 3. Distance from you as well as able to go to place from a distance.

Once the dog is desensitized to the sound of the knocking or doorbell and understands the “place” command, you can combine the two so that the sound informs the dog that the cue to go to “place” is forthcoming. To see how this is done, watch the below video in which Gabrielle rings the doorbell which told her puppy to go to place on the stairs. This allowed her to come inside without the puppy running outside past her which is what was happening before learning to go to “place.”

For a friendly highly energized dog, leave your dog on “place” when guests enter the home. At first, have your dog on leash so that he/she can’t catapult onto your guest. The dog understands not to leave “place” but will remain in an excited mood. As your dog calms down, have your guest approach your dog who is on place to receive petting.

If your dog re-energizes or comes off of place, have your guest step back while you resend your dog to “place.” Your dog will soon learn that the quickest way to get petting is to remain on place and calm themselves down. You can release your dog from “place” when he/she is calm.

For a highly energized dog or a fearful aggressive dog, obtain personal instruction by calling us at 734-634-4152 or go to Michigan Dog Training.

“Ranger” does an Out of Sight Place Command

dog training, remote collar training, shock collar training, place command

RANGER

After completing a Remote Adventures Class, Jenny King of Milford, Michigan sent me an updated progress note of her dog’s ability to do an out of sight “place” command in the real world.

Jenny reported, “This evening my parents came over for dinner and came in my garage door without me knowing until I heard Ranger pounding down the hallway towards them. I could not see him but I yelled “Go to your spot!” (There is a spot for him by the garage door and the front door). He didn’t even make it to my parents – who were just a couple of feet from his “spot.” He immediately went to his spot and did not get off until I released him.

Yay! I was just thrilled! I know that is very difficult for him with the excitement of company.  Thank you so much for your help!”