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Monday, January 25, 2016

Top 3 Commands to Teach Your Dog Around Visitors

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, Owner, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake, IL

Written By: Stacey Kalinnikova

Dogs are naturally curious and excited when meeting new people.  Unfortunately guests may not always appreciate their enthusiasm, therefore it is important to teach your dog appropriate behavior around visitors.

1.     Quiet

The quiet command is especially important for dogs that go bark crazy whenever a stranger steps foot in the house or even just rings the doorbell. 

There are two main methods to teach your dog the quiet command.  The first involves letting your dog bark incessantly and waiting until they stop on their own.  As soon as they become silent, even if only for a few seconds, say “quiet” followed by positive reinforcement (praise and a treat).  The second method involves teaching your dog to bark on command.  Once your dog barks every time you say “speak”, you can then begin to say “quiet” and wait for them to stop barking followed by the treat.

2.  Down

Even if your guests like your dog, they generally won’t appreciate grubby paws on their nice outfits.  This is where the down command becomes useful.

It can be tempting to greet your dog in an excited manner whenever you arrive home to see them, but that is actually reinforcing their jumping behavior.  It is best to teach your dog to ‘sit’ or ‘lay down’.  Once they have learned these commands, you can then ask your dog to do those alternate actions instead of jumping.  Once again, reward the correct behavior with praise and a treat.

3.  Corner

Teaching your dog to go to their corner, crate, bed, or even just another room will prevent them from being an annoying distraction around visitors.

The first step is to choose a quiet, safe place for your dog which is in a corner or out of the way.  When your dog goes to this area on their own, say the command and reward them with a treat.  Another method is to call over or physically bring your dog to the safe area, followed by the word “corner” and positive reinforcement.  Once your dog associates this area with the command and positive rewards, you can begin to say the word and they should walk there on their own.

Commands should initially be practiced and achieved in a controlled environment before introducing your dog to guests in a calm manner.  Appropriate behavior from your dog will keep both them and visitors happy.

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