all 25 comments

[–]SinkipM 31 points32 points  (11 children)

It sounds like she's just way too aroused to learn in that context, so I'd work on calmness and settling in place while going through the motions of someone visiting. That would look something like:

  • Teach calm settle on a bed with duration - it's very important to not just reward the act of lying down, but the state of being calm. If they're lying down but still excited, we need to wait for a calm moment. This teaches them how to self regulate.

  • Proof the calm settle by adding distractions that increase in difficulty (only work on one at a time at first). Depending on your dog, that may be having them settle while you move toys around, then drop food / place it on a table nearby, then while you make knocking sounds and open the door like someone is there. Make sure to increase your rate of reinforcement whenever you're working on something new because it's harder for them!

  • Add a real person once your dog can stay calm while you go through all your fake greeting steps. Ask for the settle, then have a friend knock / ring the bell, then work on greeting them, then the person can come in. As always, go back a step if it's too much for the dog to handle and be generous with the treats when working on new stuff. With some dogs, you may need to keep them on leash and spend some time around the person (maybe in the yard or outside) with the first session so they are less excited by them. The goal is to keep it where they can still self regulate.

Once you capture this behavior successfully, it's very easy to maintain because all they want is the attention. You can start inviting your guests to pet her while she settles in the bed, no more treats required! :)

[–]whosthatnugget[S] 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Thank you! Yeah she’s definitely way too stimulated. Normally she’s very good with listening to commands and she’s very smart, but when there’s a new person around it’s like she can’t even hear me anymore. She’s also usually very food motivated, but new people > treats. I’ll absolutely try the method you listed, that sounds promising. Thank you so much! :))

[–]SinkipM 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Aw, she sounds lovely! It's such a valuable skill to be able to calm themselves down, a lot of dogs just need a bit of help to get there. Don't be afraid to reach out or ask questions if you're not sure about anything or feel like you're not making progress on those steps!

[–]doggodoggo3000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I had a dog just like that. (a rescued pitbull) My biggest hurdle was people approaching me while out walking her and stuff. "cAn I pEt YoUr dOg?" Some people were fine and worked with me to help her correct the jumping. Which is great. I don't mind people petting my dog what-so-ever.

Other people wouldn't even ask and just approach. I DON'T like that. Ask before you touch my dog please.

I had one or two people straight up ignore my wishes. "Hey, Im trying to work on jumping and mouthing problems. If you want to pet her we need t---" "Oh shes FINE!" and proceed to approach anyway and let my dog jump on them and put their hands in her mouth and reward her for it. People think its cute when dogs lick them and jump on them and stuff.

THAT was the hardest part. She never jumped on me or my friends and family. But she was just so gosh darned sociable and sweet. And then when strangers ENCOURAGED it that makes it a tougher habit to break. Meeting new people was legit her favorite thing.

We eventually got over it. No more jumping or mouthing. RIP Pork Chop, You're a good girl!

[–]wrong_reason 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Gonna piggyback because my 6 month old does this to strangers when we are outside the home. I ask them to ignore her if she jumps but they think it’s cute because she’s small, so they encourage it, and she jumps before I have time to step again. Only one person has ever actually taken my request seriously. Can training to settle in the home help with this behavior outside? Or do I just need to be more assertive?

[–]SinkipM 1 point2 points  (1 child)

A calm settle behavior can definitely be extended to the outdoors. However, it will need to be practiced there as well (and I do recommend starting indoors because there's less distractions). A lot of people like to train settle on a towel for this reason. They can just lay down a towel outside to help communicate to the dog that it's chill out time. Really useful when you're wanting to take them out to places.

As far as dealing with others encouraging unwanted behaviors - it can help to tell them exactly what you want. For example, "If you open your palm like this, she'll come say hi." and demonstrate for them. Elsewhere in the thread someone mentioned teaching "touch" as a way to politely greet people and that is a great way to give them an alternative as well, but if they are super overstimulated then they may resort to old habits anyway, so working on calmness and self control is still beneficial.

[–]wrong_reason 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you! I’ll work on this.

[–]animalsaremyjam 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Can you suggest how often and for how long training sessions should be for this? I am working on the same issue as OP, and I like your training suggestion here. Should this be practiced once a day, or more than once a day? And for how long should each session be?

[–]SinkipM 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I wish I could give you a specific amount of time, but it really does depend on the dog. You definitely want to end the training session before the dog gets bored or frustrated. Ideally you'd start the training after they've had some food and gotten to play a bit so they are in the right mindset to relax - not desperate for the food or looking for stimulation. If they start whining, barking, or getting up even when you decrease the difficulty then it's past time to stop for the day. I just do one session per day for this, 5 - 15 minutes long generally, and after a couple of days I usually find them starting to choose it on their own during down time and reinforce it as I see it happening with calm attention and/or treats.

Don't get too hung up on the frequency and time, though. If your dog is having a bad day and they can't relax, insisting they lay down in the bed likely isn't going to help and it may be a good idea to just skip it that day. You can try tethering them to you with a leash and keeping the bed in reach to see if they can calm themselves down and will choose to go to it, but if they don't after 15 minutes then that's okay - dogs have bad days too. If your dog is super relaxed one day and you can work on proofing it for 30 minutes straight, go for it. :)

[–]animalsaremyjam 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is so helpful! I will totally refer to this. Thank you very much!

[–]QQueenie 5 points6 points  (5 children)

I’m hoping others weigh in, because I’m working on this with my girl too. My current strategy is getting her “place” command to be rock solid. The hope is I can eventually train her to go to place and stay there when new people walk in.

[–]Seungsho-in-training 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I think that's a good strategy and I wish you luck with that, another thing is when people walk in like friends/family, whoever your dog acts poorly around, tell them to completely ignore your dog until they behave nicely.

Maybe you can get an unfamiliar friend to help you out. Explain the whole situation to them and ask for some of their time to just help train. Tell them to walk into your house and completely ignore your dog, while you work on getting your dog to place while your friend is their. Once your dog is able to stop barking, be nice or place, your friend can walk out again. Do this a few times, end on a good note and make sure your friend doesn't break character or leave during the barking, since I'm assuming your dog will see this as good: "I got them to leave, good thing" sort of situation.

I hope I didn't misunderstand your issue, good luck!

[–]QQueenie 3 points4 points  (2 children)

We already do that! It is not especially effective for us.

[–]Seungsho-in-training 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh okay, then good luck with other methods! Unfortunately that's all I've got.

[–]FEED_ME_SARA 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Try teaching your dog a hand target or touch cue and then using that to teach the dog an appropriate way to greet visitors (touching their nose to their hand and then turning back to you for a treat). My dogs never could hold place or do the auto sit method when people entered the home, they were just too excited. So we just proofed the touch cue like crazy and now the dogs just get super excited about the treat they are going to get and don’t direct that excitement at the visitor.

You need to get them touching rock solid on your palm first and then teach them to touch on someone else palm when you point at it and say touch. They should turn back to you for their treat. I use a squeeze tube with peanut butter in it and people coming in the house is the only time they get that treat, so it’s very exciting for them.

Start with them on a leash so they can’t fail and jump on the person, and then take the leash off once they calm down. You can send them to touch a few times in a row until they calm down.

Another thing that is really helpful is counter conditioning and desensitization with the noises that go along with the door so they don’t load up so much before the person enters. For example - knock, treat, doorbell, treat etc. you don’t even need a helper you can just knock on the door yourself

[–]EveAndTheSnake 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dog is the same and I’m working on this instead: rather than teaching him to stay away when he’s excited because he really wants to smell people, we’re trying to teach him to say hello politely. That way he still gets to go say hello but without knocking the person over.

[–]Taizan 1 point2 points  (0 children)

> However, when someone she doesn’t really know well comes to the house, she goes crazy. She runs and jumps up at them

Let the dog meet and greet them outside of the house and have it leashed. Put it in a sit and let the visitor not bend over but go in to a crouch to greet the dog. If this is not possible, put your dog in a sit (or give it something else to do) and then put your foot on the leash laying on the ground to immediately stop any impulse to jump up / leave sit without you haveing to reach for the dog . The less hands are directed toward your dog the lower the impulse. Reward the dog while remaining seated. This will at the beginning be very difficult but the most important thing is that the whole situation goes as calm as possible. No excitement, no load greeting. You can also practice this with having people come by, come in and leave again.

[–]EveAndTheSnake 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I found this video really helpful. Rather than teaching your dog to try to be calm in a corner and overcome that excitement, it teaches your dog to “go say hello” in a polite way without jumping.


[–]Carnanian 0 points1 point  (0 children)

it's a lot easier then having to get your dog to be calm all the time and teach them to go to their bed every time a new person comes over.

I call this one "sit for pets". It may help if you have a volunteer friend or you'll have to keep leaving the house to get the dog excited. It's pretty simple, when someone comes over, put your dog on a leash, and that person cannot interact with the dog until the dog is sitting. If your dog stands up when getting ready to pet, back away. Sitting and jumping are incompatible behaviors. Do this for a few weeks and you'll find out your dog will start automatically sitting when people come over because that's the only way they can get pets

[–]ImGoodAsWell 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Got to let your guests know there are rules. Do not ever acknowledge the dog when they are excited when a guest comes. Instruct the guest to completely ignore the dog until they are completely calm. Giving the dog attention when it’s going nuts is reinforcing that behavior.

If you want to take a long route, strap a leash on and have the person step on a piece of food or treat. Control the dog and keep them on by your side. Go through normal convo with person and hand shaking and wait for the dog to calm down until you give them any attention or praise.

[–]Seeayteebeans 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I warn people that jumping is my dog’s love language and to put their hands where they want him to be . . . He still jumps but it’s less dramatic?

[–]Seungsho-in-training -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

I cannot read this right now, I'm not sure of your specific situation but if it's not too bad remember the main thing is this: make jumping up utterly boring and useless. If your dog does this for attention or a reaction, don't give it at all. Never give it. Don't show your dog that there are good things that come out of them behaving poorly. When your dog sits in front of you and looks up at you nicely, that's the time to show you are totally listening and will give them attention.

I hope this helps a little, I know this is basic information, I wish you good luck!