Your dog is well-behaved in general. But when you have guests over, they go completely berserk. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, then what you are experiencing is fairly common. However, it should not be tolerated, even if your guests are dog lovers themselves.
Before we go into some dog-training strategies to keep your dog calm in the presence of guests, let’s find out why they are going crazy in the first place:
Your dog is excitable
Excitability is inherent in most dogs, some more so than others. Hence, it’s natural for a dog to be excited when guests come over. They might see your guests as new friends (and potential sources of treats) and want to welcome them with open paws. However, this does not make it okay for your dog to run headfirst into guests or jump on them, even if your guests love dogs.
Your dog is afraid of people
If your dog is not used to having unfamiliar people in the house, they might act out as a result of increased stress and aggression.
Your dog is territorial
Dogs are naturally protective of their territory, and when guests come over, they can perceive them as a threat. If this is the case for your dog, they might act aggressively toward guests to protect their territory or even possessions.
How to train your dog to behave when guests come over
Some guests find it endearing that your dog greets them enthusiastically as soon as they walk through the door, but this behavior won’t fly with everyone. On the other hand, acts of aggression can put your guests at risk or make them uncomfortable, at the very least.
If your dog is over-excitable, aggressive, anxious, or generally unruly when guests come over, here are some of the best ways to train them to behave:
1. Practice commands
If your dog is still a puppy, it’s a good idea to send them to an obedience school as soon as they are the right age. Once your dog is fully trained, it will be much easier to re-train them with both basic and new commands.
Practice the ‘sit’ command while playing a recording of the doorbell or knocking on the door. Doing this will help improve your dog’s self-control, especially when done in their early life. You can also practice the ‘stay’ or ‘watch me’ command so that your dog focuses on you when guests are arriving, making it easier for you to control them.
2. Leash your dog before opening the door
To prevent your dog from dashing to the door or jumping on guests, put a leash on them before you greet guests. It’s also a good idea to wait until they’ve calmed down before opening the door and give them a treat when they behave.
3. Avoid overexciting your dog
Whenever you come home, avoid hyping your dog up when they greet you at the door. If you let your dog jump on you and lick all over your face when you come home, they will think it’s okay to do the same to guests.
Similarly, ask your guests to avoid greeting your dog in an overly excited manner. They might pick up that habit and do the same to other guests who do not want to be greeted in the same manner.
4. Crate your dog
Sometimes, your dog will feel overly anxious or angry despite good training. When this happens, put him in his crate while guests are in the house to keep them away from sensory overload. Don’t forget to give him a treat or a toy to help them calm down.
5. Consider your guests
If your guests are uncomfortable around dogs or fear them, put your dog in their crate before they arrive. If the guests are staying for the whole day, however, consider dropping your dog off to daycare so that they don’t spend all day crated.
If your dog turns into a crazy whirlwind of fur whenever guests come over, don’t worry. It’s not going to be that way forever. With enough training and behavior modification, your dog will become used to having unfamiliar people in the house over time. Just make sure to keep training consistent. If they misbehave, reprimand them accordingly. But if they behave well, encourage it through rewards.
However, some dogs need extra training to correct their bad behavior. If this is the case, take your dog to a professional trainer as early as possible.
Meta title: How to Address Your Dog’s Misbehavior When Guests Come Over
Meta description: Many dog owners experience problems with their dog’s behavior when guests come to visit. If you are on the same boat, here’s how to address the problem.