How does your pet greet your visitors? Does your dog get too excited and jump on your guests for attention? Or do they go on high alert and behave like they’re about to bite any minute? They may also resort to barking annoyingly, which may be unsettling to your guests.
Having friends over is good, but your dogs may not handle the occasion very well. When guests visit, you want your pets to welcome them on their best behavior. However, things can sometimes get out of hand, and not how you expected.
In this blog, learn the three basic commands you need to teach your dog in anticipation of guests’ arrival.
Guests From a Dog’s Standpoint
Unfamiliar people visiting your home is a change in your dogs’ usual routine. They may not be prepared to confront the situation. Hence, they may act out of character even if they’ve been a well-behaved pet before the visit.
Depending on your dog, a knock on the door or a doorbell ring can make them either excited or stressed. These reactions are especially heightened if your pup is only used to having you or your family around. In both cases, things can be a bit annoying to your guests and frustrating to you as a host.
Train Your Pup Early
Train your pup while they’re young. Teach your dog commands and basic obedience as soon as they come home, usually when they’re around six to eight weeks old. This is also the age you can use an e-collar to accompany your training. PetsTEK recommends that proper training techniques should be observed to maximize the potential of an e-collar.
Always keep your training short and sweet. Basic dog commands such as sit, stay, down and come should be incorporated into their daily training. Dogs have a short attention span, so 15 to 20 minutes per session should be fine.
Don’t miss giving them treats or rewards. Don’t shout at them or get angry whenever they mess up. More often than not, they don’t even understand the frustrations you feel. Ironically, they may consider your feelings as approval of their bad behavior.
Things To Prepare Before Training
- Quiet place or environment
- High-quality treats or something your dog likes
- Your patience and enthusiasm
Three Basic Dog Commands for a Successful Guest Visit
Your ultimate goal in this training is for your dog to greet visitors in a friendly but calm manner. It’s reassuring to know that you can be in control whenever guests are around.
Try out these commands and learn how to teach them for a fulfilling guest visit experience.
“Sit” is one of the most versatile commands you can teach your dog. You can use it to keep your dog from jumping or knocking over guests, to behave well in meeting guests at the front door and to stay in one place while you move around the house. Train your pup the “Sit” command in areas where they’ll most likely jump up, such as in the kitchen or living room.
- Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose, where they can sniff it to get their attention.
- Slowly move the treat up just a few inches away from their head.
- Bring the treat slightly behind their head, causing them to look up while moving backward until their bottom hits the ground.
- As soon as your pup sits, mark the behavior by saying, “Sit!”
- Without delay, give them the treat as a reward.
- Repeat the process a few times until they master the command consistently.
Dogs learn through a verbal cue coupled with a reward. By hearing the word, “Sit,” your dog can associate the sitting position with the command. Once your pup gets the hang of it, elevate your training by practicing the command around your friends or neighbors to strengthen the behavior.
The “Sit” and “Stay” commands go hand-in-hand in basic obedience training. It is recommended that your dog learn the “Sit” behavior before proceeding with “Stay.” The key aspect here is showing your pup that holding their position is more rewarding than breaking it. The rule of thumb in doing this is using high-quality treats.
- Get your dog in a sitting position by saying, “Sit!”
- When your dog responds, reward them with a treat after a few seconds.
- Repeat the procedure a few times while gradually increasing the delay of giving the treat.
- Once your dog learns to hold their position for at least 15 seconds, introduce the “Stay” command.
- Say, “Sit,” and wait for them to respond in a sitting position and then command them by saying, “Stay.” Make sure to do it with a clear and confident voice.
- Try moving away from your dog to see if they will stay in place while you’re growing the distance.
- After 15 seconds have elapsed, reward your dog with a treat every time they hold their position.
- This time, introduce the release command; begin with the “Sit” and then “Stay” commands.
- If they can hold their position after 15 seconds, release them using a hand signal or a verbal cue like “Go!” Throw a treat in the process so that your dog will get up to get the goodies.
Always reward your dog after staying in position. Teaching dogs the “Stay” command helps ensure their safety from bolting and keeps them well-behaved in front of the guests.
Teaching your dog to lie down avoids unwanted behavior like jumping up on visitors. With the “Down” command, your pet’s stomach and legs should rest flat on the ground.
With this command, you can use a soft mat or towel while training your dog. A trained dog can be ordered to lie on their bed and relax when guests visit.
- While your dog is standing, hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose to get their focus.
- Slowly move the treat down until your pup’s belly touches the floor.
- Praise your dog by saying, “good dog,” then reward them with a treat.
- Repeat the process until your dog gets the hang of it.
- Once your dog can reliably follow the steps, try it without a treat in your hand.
- Make the same movement with steps 1 and 2 but now with an empty hand.
- If your dog lies down, praise them and say, “good dog.” Reward the behavior with two treats this time. This instills in them that it’s more rewarding to lie down even if they don’t see a treat in your hand.
- Once your dog constantly follows your movement with the empty hand, give the verbal cue by saying, “Down,” followed by a hand signal.
- Praise and reward your dog for good behavior.
- Repeat the exercise until your dog masters the command.
Apply the verbal commands randomly during non-training sessions to assess if your dog has learned to associate it with the “Lie Down” position.
Practicing these three basic commands before having guests over is a must. Since dogs love routine, keep a daily schedule for training your dog with these commands. You can ask your friends to help with the exercise to introduce your dog to varying scenarios.
Depending on your dog, training may take some time, but with consistency, your efforts will surely be rewarded. After all, it’s great to have a well-trained dog that can welcome guests and behave well throughout an occasion.