Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stop Dogs from Rushing the Door

In the human world, we often think our dog rushing up to us and jumping on us is cute. Not so in the pack world.
Me and Bo at the Queen Anne Merril Gardens assisted care facility.

A dog rushing toward you is called "charging" and it spells dominance, regardless of whether it's motivated by excitement, play or aggression. A dog being on top of you or putting his paws on you is also a canine sign of owning you.

Again, they're not the boss of you and this is inappropriate behavior, especially if there are children in the house or you have physical injuries or disabilities.

A healthy greeting means your dog patiently waits to greet you, family or guests WHEN YOU ARE READY. Here's how you can teach your dog to be respectful:

Step between the dog and the door. Never allow them to be closer to the door than you. That means they own it.

Now, make them stay several feet away to give you and your guest "space", a sign they are being respectful of your leadership. This makes you the owner of the door AND of the guest in the dog's eyes.

Insist that your dog sit (lay down for excitable dogs) and stay while you calmly open the door to your guest. Your dog should be in total submission, which means their ears and tails are relaxed, not standing up. If the dog moves when your hand is on the door knob, stop and put them back into place. Again, use a leash for added control. Take your time and ask your guest to be patient.

Ignore the dog when you come home or your guest enters for a few minutes (5-10 min for excitable dogs) until everyone is calm, especially the dog. Then greet.

Step FORWARD (never backward), if your dog jumps on you, and give the command for them to sit. Being "over" the dog tells them you mean business. Step on the leash for added control.

Be calm and quiet. Not only do excited dogs not hear words, your voice can excite your dog further. It's better to touch the dog or use signals (or the leash) to get them to do what you want. Your dog will take you more seriously when you are not speaking, but moving toward them.

Happy wagging!

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