How can I stop my dog from losing control when greeting people at the door?

Question:

We have a 3 year old Labrador Retriever – she is a wonderful being! She has done really well with her training except for being over the top excited when people come to the house. She races to the door, and just goes wild jumping up and running around our friends feet, etc. I have tried putting her in a sit/stay prior to opening the door but she just loses control once the door opens! I know she is still young – but she weighs 70 lbs and I don’t want anyone to get hurt!

Michelle

dogdoor

 By Brian Lee, Dog Trainer & Behavioral Counselor

The greeting ritual is one of the most common challenges for dog owners.

The most important thing to remember is your dog’s state of mind. When a dog is “out of their head,” nothing gets through.

First:  Make sure your dog is well exercised; so all that extra energy isn’t taken out on your guest.

Second:  You need to desensitize your dog to the front door. Ten times a day, for a couple of weeks, go to the door, open and close it over and over, until your dog is bored with challenging the door.  You can knock; ring the doorbell and talk, as if someone is there.  You will want to desensitize your dog to as many triggers as possible.

MOST IMPORTANT:  Do not look at your dog while doing this.  Look straight over her head. You will probably have to walk through her, in order to back her up.  Finally, when someone comes to the door, most think they need to open it right away. That is rewarding her, when she is out of her head.

Pump the door over and over.  Open it a few inches. Tell your guest to please be patient. If you keep pumping the door, you will see her slowly calm down.  If you follow this same procedure with the next thirty or so visitors, you will see a remarkable improvement.

You can also put your dog on leash, while standing on it, until she calms down.  Or, try putting her in her crate or behind a puppy gate, until she relaxes.

Hope that helps.  Thank you for your question.

Brian Lee


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