By Jess Rollins
Here is part 5 of a multi-part article
designed to alert you to the many of the potential pitfalls of living
with an untrained dog in your home and how to best cope with them. In each
description of a potential problem, I will outline how you can prevent it, how
to teach good behavior, and what to do as an immediate response if you find
yourself in a situation where you need to quickly stop him from misbehaving.
Ideally, you will proactively prevent your dog's misbehavior and hence will not
have many "Ack, STOP that!" moments. Using the "immediate responses" below more
than a time or two each day could set back your training efforts with your dog
and prevent him from learning how to behave politely. Therefore, if you find
yourself relying on them too heavily, simply increase the prevention you are
doing and make sure that your rewards for good behavior are truly rewarding to
him. The immediate responses below are designed to interrupt your dog without
either rewarding his misbehavior or frightening him.
Part 5 - Visitors + Your Dog = Chaos? Here's How to Bring
Peace to Visitations!
Guests will probably be a cause
for excitement for your dog either because he is happy to see them or
because he is anxious about them (or perhaps both!). You may also be
distracted and not able to supervise him as well in these situations
so consider using a
tether, gate, or crate.
Be alert for
the following when guests arrive:
of the door
Be careful to keep doors closed. Using a self-closing screen door in
addition to your regular door can help. Have him wear a
drag-line so that you can grab him just in case he starts to bolt for the door.
The drag-line is only appropriate for use while you are supervising
him to make sure he does not get tangled. Make sure that he wears an
ID at all times in case he does escape.
GET-THAT-DOG! (see key below for explanation of all-cap terms)
Your dog jumping up on
someone entering the home
Prevent: Use a
or leash to keep him from jumping or put him in his crate until he has
calmed down a bit.
Ask the person to ignore him if he jumps or "“ better yet - to instantly
turn around and go back out of the door. Give him attention when he
has all four paws on the ground. If the person entering is not comfortable
with dogs, you can use the leash to move your dog away if he jumps up
and then reward him when he is calm.
If your dog is
worried about the visitor
and he may bark, act aggressively
or shy away
Prevent: Put your
dog in his crate with a yummy chew. Never force interaction or allow
anyone to force your dog to greet him or her. If your dog feels cornered,
he may choose to bite in order to "defend himself". Advise your
visitor to ignore your dog.
Take your dog to a puppy-proofed area and give him a yummy chew to keep him
busy while you interact with your guest.
Train: Make the
association that the visitor means good things (treats!) for your dog.
Reward your dog for being social and friendly. Consider contacting a
reputable trainer to help you work on this. For more information see
our page on
dog may have problems with child visitors
Make sure that you supervise your dog with children at all times and
separate them if your dog is becoming stressed or uncomfortable.
Check out our article on detecting signs of doggy-stress. If it is not possible to watch them constantly, take your dog to a puppy-proofed
area and give him a yummy chew to keep him busy while you interact with your
INTERRUPT then REMOVE-DOG
dog that being handled by children is an opportunity to stay calm and earn
treats. Use baby steps so that your dog is not afraid.
Children should not be allowed to grab, pull on, pick up a dog, touch
a dog's toys or food bowl, disturb a sleeping dog or enter his crate.
Reward your dog for calm behavior.
Your dog may be so excited or worried to see people that he may
urinate while greeting someone. Puppies often and grow out of this as
they get older.
Prevent: Make sure
that he gets plenty of positive exposure to different people. If you
suspect your dog may urinate submissively, ask your visitor to ignore
him for a few minutes and then to greet your dog very calmly. That will
make the greeting less exciting and him less likely to urinate. It might
help during clean-up if you put down a towel near the door if that is
where he tends to leak.
Ignore it totally. If you startle him by clapping as is recommended
in other sections of this book, you could make him more worried and
worsen the problem. You will want to clean up with a
pet specific cleaner.
Train: This is really
not a housetraining issue, but more one of confidence and maturity.
Training him tricks and rewarding calm behavior may help.
For more information check out our submissive urination article.
Click for more information on teaching your dog to greet people politely without jumping up.
Train your dog to wait for permission before going through doorways.
Go and get him if he has escaped.
Reward him for coming to you or allowing you to catch him Bonk yourself
on the head with a newspaper 3 times while repeating "“ "I will be
more careful". <grin>
Ask him to "drop it".
If he does not yet know "drop it", show him a treat to induce him
to open his mouth. If he still won't release the item, force his mouth
open using the technique described
here. Click for instructions on how to train your dog to "drop it".
Say "Hey!" loudly and
clap your hands to interrupt what he is doing. Then take a couple of
running steps away to entice him to follow you from the area.
Click for instructions on training your dog to "leave it".
Encourage him to follow you
from the area or lead him away by his collar or
his collar may be frightening if he senses your annoyance. Diffuse this
by talking in a silly voice as you approach. Then focus on adding more
prevention and rewards for good behavior.
Click for Part 4:
Dog + Kids + Other Pets, Oh My!
Click for Part
Dog in the Yard