Episode 15: How Do I Teach My Dog Polite Greetings? What is a Polite Greeting?How a polite greeting is defined is based on each individual pet owner's criteria, but it's basically just approaching people calmly without barking, jumping, or any other behavior a human might deem as “rude” Tips to Get Started -Be consistent right from the beginning. -It's just as important for your dog to learn he can’t say hi to everyone, as it is for him to learn how to say hi politely. Dogs that get to greet everyone are often harder to control and more frustrated when they see someone who doesn’t want to say hi. Let dog greet 50% or less -It’s ok to tell people they can’t greet your dog. -Memorize what makes your dog jump and reinforce them for 4 on the floor before they have an opportunity to jump up. Example: Letting puppy out of crate, start petting him and give him treats as he is exiting the crate and before he jumps up to greet -Show your dog they don’t have to jump to get attention by petting them before they “ask”/jump -Have treats in hand and stretch arm out, dog gets reinforced for 4 on the floor and being a little bit away from you -Throw treats on the floor as you or guests are entering. Helps dog calm down and reinforces 4 paws on the floor How to Respond if Your Dog Does Jump Up Turn around, stepping back out of the door, removing reinforcement like attention/treats. Don’t look at them, don’t talk to them, don’t push them off, for many dogs that's reinforcing. Give the dog attention when they have 4 on the floor again. Stay calm. The more excited you are the harder it is for the dog. Don’t wait for your dog to jump up and stop jumping to reinforce. The faster you are about reinforcing calm behavior, the less room for error there is. The Problem With Punishing Your Dog Dogs jump because they want attention (most of the time), so if we punish them for asking for attention, they may start asking for attention in other ways like barking or pawing at you. We need to install an appropriate way for them to ask for things they need. One of the biggest mistakes people make in dog training, is not reinforcing the dog’s natural decisions enough. Dogs often learn they are only reinforced when their owners ask them to do something, not when they do the behavior on their own. So they don’t make good decisions on their own because they are never reinforced. Treat your dog randomly throughout the day for good decisions they make. Ways to Teach Polite Greetings/4 on the Floor (Start these games with minimal distractions at first) Call Once: Calling your dog to come, asking them to sit, reinforce them with high value treat and attention. Dogs naturally will start to sit when approaching people. Door Game: Practice going in and out of door, each time you walk in cue a sit, and reinforce them. Help the dog generalize by practicing with multiple people and different times throughout the day. Sit When Approaching Game: Have a dog in sit, have people slowly approach while you continuously feed the dog HIGH value treats. If the dog gets up from the sit, the person approaching will walk away. Platform Training: Teach your dog to stand on a chair or platform when people enter the house and rapidly reinforce. This works because it allows your dog to be closer to the people without jumping on them. Have the dog on a leash, let the leash drag, if the dog starts jumping on guests, take the leash and guide them away. They can’t say hello until they are calm. Remember to reinforce good behavior along the way. It should be more about showing them the right thing, rather than punishing the wrong thing. Baby Gates: Dog has to be calm before they are allowed out from behind the gate. This prevents them from practicing the behavior of jumping on people. Mat Training: Have mat close to the front door, work on them staying on the mat without guests at first. Slowly add in distractions of the owner walking to the door, then touching the door knob, then opening the door, ect.
Additional Tips Pick which method best suits your dog, household, and amount of time you have to train Break each method down into as small of steps as your dog needs. Example: If you are teaching mat behavior and your dog gets up when you walk away to answer the door, start by taking one step away or even just picking up on foot. Ensure that your family is consistent. If you struggle with someone following the training rules, keep dog in backyard, on leash, in a crate, or have someone babysit the dog. This way they don’t practice the undesired behavior. Give your dog a kong or raw bone to help keep them calm. Be calm. The more excited you are, the harder it will be for the dog. Practice what it will look like when you will have guests over, so the dog doesn’t learn those actions mean company every time. Example, practice putting the leash on your dog randomly throughout the day, so that it isn’t a predictor for walks or company.