If you have a hyperactive dog, one that lives for your attention and goes wild every time you have company over, then this guide on how to keep your dog calm when you have guests will be invaluable. Using the best dog crate for separation anxiety can help in some situations, but for stubborn dogs, attention from your guests will be the only way to get them to settle down. You can’t let your dog run your home. You’re the pack leader. It’s important to teach your pet that their behavior is not acceptable. However, there’s a right and wrong way to go about training your dog to leave your guests alone. I’ll go over what you can do to prevent your pet from jumping up on guests and making a nuisance of themselves, using positive reinforcement, distractions, and activities that will have your dog calm and settled so you can enjoy your evening with friends and family.
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Your Hyperactive Dog
If you have a dog who runs to the front door, eager and ready to jump on your guests, then you have a problem on your hands. Some dogs will not settle down, even after your guests have acknowledged them. This can be an even bigger problem if you have a large breed dog. So, what can you do to get your dog to calm down and leave your guests alone?
A quick solution is to crate your pet while your guests are over, or you can put a baby gate up and pen your dog in a different area of the house. But this isn’t a long-term solution. Instead, you need to focus on teaching your dog commands. A dog must learn what type of behavior is acceptable and what type of behavior isn’t.
Control the Situation
If you’re new to dog ownership, then you may find yourself struggling to get your dog under control anytime someone enters the yard or knocks on the front door. It’s important to nip this problem early on, before it gets worse as your dog grows.
When someone knocks on the door and your dogs go wild, barking and jumping around, you may be tempted to start yelling no, or be quiet. But this type of response will only excite your dogs more. Dogs have trouble recognizing the difference between joy and frustration. In order to keep your pets calm, you need to remain calm yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about dog training basics, click here to read my guide on first-time dog owner tips.
Practice the Right Way to Greet Guests
Yelling at your dogs will not do much but get your dogs more excited. When there’s a knock on the door, open the door slowly and ask your guest not to acknowledge your dogs. If you’re dealing with a large breed hyperactive dog, then you may even need to put a leash on them. If your dog is very excited and tries to jump on your guests, then take your dog by their leash and remove them from the room, placing them in another room with the door shut. Wait for only half a minute then release the dog from the room. If your dog displays the same behavior, then put them back in the room. You will need to repeat this process until your dog finally enters the room calmly. Now that your dog is calm, they will be rewarded by attention from your guest.
Using a crate or a dog bed can be your best defense when it comes to a long-term, quiet environment. You can begin training your dog using a crate or bed before you even have guests over. Begin giving them treats or toys whenever you find them lying comfortably in their crate or bed. Once your dog becomes attached to their crate or bed, then you can use it to your advantage. When your guests are around, place some treats in the crate or bed, or add some new toys. These will keep your dog happy and distracted, and most importantly, calm.
Using a treat-filled chew toy is a great way to keep your pet distracted. You can also try a marrow bone, bully stick, or pig ears. There are even electronic treat feeders that will allow pet owners to reward their pet remotely. You can do so whenever you notice that your dog is relaxed or resting comfortably. This type of positive reinforcement will encourage your dog to remain calm.
Learning how to keep your dog calm when you have guests over can be frustrating for both you and your pet. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Instead, this is a type of training you’ll have to practice each and every time you have visitors. Dogs are very eager to please. Once they make the connection that they get attention and treats when they act appropriately and remain calm, you’ll soon notice their calm demeanor whenever there’s a knock at the door. Try to practice these training techniques as often as possible, especially if you have hyperactive younger large breed dogs. Training your dogs at an early age to remain calm whenever you have guests is crucial. It will also be easier than teaching older dogs who are used to getting attention from visitors. With patience and practice, these techniques should provide some results in as little as one month, or sooner, depending on how often you practice.