With the Holiday’s right around the corner we hope you are not fretting over having company over. We know sometimes having your friends and family over can be hectic and can send your furbaby into a frenzy and sensory overload. Here are a few helpful tips to get Rover ready for your house guests.
Good manners are skills that need to be practiced time and time again in order to be effective. This is as true for humans as it is for dogs. If you take ten minutes a day to train your dog on a particular skill, you and your dog will be rewarded many times over.
Let’s start with someone coming to the door.
The leash and treats are your best friend in this situation. Have someone ring the bell or knock on the door. Put the leash on your dog, ask your dog to sit and step on the leash. Say “Off” and when your dog is calm say “Yes” and give your dog a treat. Once Rover is calm then should you open the door and interact with the visitor. It is important to practice this several times in a row and do it for several days so that whenever anyone approaches the door your dog will have built up a memory bank of correct behavior. The more times you can enable Rover to perform this behavior successfully the more his responses will be in the future.
Next let’s look at sending Rover to go find his “Place.”
This takes a few more steps but in the end worth the efforts. Once you’ve chosen what your Rover’s “Place” will be you’ll want to introduce him to it on his leash. Walk your dog over to his “Place” and have him sit or stand on it. If you’re using a crate, then you’ll have to get the dog into the crate.
When Rover is in his “Place” say “Yes!” and give him a cookie. Release Rover with “Ok!” and walk him away from his “Place”. Repeat this several times and now it is time to introduce a verbal cue for “Place”. Use whatever word you are comfortable with but make sure it’s not a word that you use for something else.
Continue to work on leash and cue Rover to go to his “Place”, walk him over to it and reinforce him for sitting or standing on it. At this point you will need to work on distance and duration. If Rover tries to leave his “Place” without your releasing him then simply use your leash to gently stop him from going anywhere. If your dog tries to leave and then decides to stay in “Place” say “Yes!” and reward him with many dog treats. This is because your dog has made a decision to stay in “Place” and is beginning to understand what you’re teaching him.
Once Rover understands what “Place” is, start working him off leash. You’ll want to train him to go to his “Place” on verbal cue when there are very few distractions. Cue him to go to his “Place”, reward him for doing so and then allow him to sit or stand there for several minutes. Be sure to release your Rover with “Ok!” so that your dog knows when it’s ok for him to leave his “Place”.
Now it’s time to introduce some distractions.
Cue your dog to go to his “Place” then get out some toys or throw some treats on the floor near him. You may want to use your leash for this exercise in case your dog leaves his “Place” to go for the distractions. If Rover remains in his “Place” with the distractions tempting him, reinforce him with “Yes!” and lots of cookies. Your dog has made a decision that it is more rewarding to stay in his “Place” then to go for the distractions.
After you’ve worked this exercise several times then you can enlist the help of someone to start ringing your doorbell. When the doorbell rings, cue your dog to go to his “Place”. Again, because this is a new distraction you may need to use your leash to gently keep Rover in his “Place” when he hears the doorbell. Reinforce your dog with “Yes!” and lots of cookies for staying in “Place” when the doorbell rings. Practice this as many times as it takes for your dog to easily go to his place when you cue him.