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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Greeting Guests at Door   Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:01 pm

Teaching Your Dog To Greet People Coming Into Your Home Politely

Especially for those of us with more than one dog, our visitors can sometimes be overwhelmed! It’s very easy to teach your dog to be polite when people come into your house.

You will need accomplices because it is impossible to teach manners in real life, you need to set the dog up to be successful. Your accomplice can be a family member to start, although you will eventually need around 10 accomplices because dogs don’t generalize behaviors well and it takes about 10 people before the dog generalizes the behavior.

Note: if you have more than 1 dog, you have to teach each dog individually. When each dog has a solid behavior, then pair 2 dogs and try it. Sometimes they will get each other aroused, so be patient. If this happens, work with them individually for a little longer.
The accomplice goes outside and rings the doorbell or knocks and continues to ring the doorbell/knock while your dog jumps around, barks, etc. while you are a tree and remember trees don’t talk. (This is the annoying part (grin)).

The instant your dog settles, the accomplice stops ringing/knocking. You call the dog, cue for a sit and heavily reinforce – 10-20 small, easily swallowed treats, fed one at a time. Note: it never is useful to be stingy with food – make it really worth it for your dog to calm down and it will happen faster.

Repeat, repeat, repeat in 5-10 minute sessions until your dog is automatically running to you the second the accomplice starts ringing/knocking.

Once the dog is running to you automatically, now it’s time for the accomplice to enter.

The dog should be sitting by you. The accomplice turns the doorknob. If the dog gets up, start over. Repeat, repeat, repeat until the dog is sitting while the accomplice turns the doorknob.

Baby step from turning the doorknob to opening the door 1”, 2”, 4” etc. until the dog remains sitting while the accomplice enters the house.
This sounds long and complicated but once your dogs understand the ‘game’, it goes very quickly. You want to proceed in small steps so that your dog can be successful at each step. If you ask for too much at once, your dog will fail. This is one of the 3 major reasons people can’t train their dogs – they ask for too much at one time. Human babies do not go from a crawl to a run. They stand up first, then take a step, often holding on to something, etc. Give your dog the time to learn in the same small steps.

Repeat with every family member and friend you can wheedle into helping.

Patience, consistency, teaching in steps and letting the dog figure out what the right behavior is are the keys to success!
You can also cue your dog to go to a specific place, her bed, his crate or anywhere you want. If you choose to use a place, then instead of calling the dog to you, toss a wad of treats on the place/in the crate.

Your dog will run to her place as soon as she hears someone at the door after lots of practice.


-Virginia Wind

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