I was in Dacula last Thursday working with a new Home Dog Training client and his two year old Labrador Retriever named Daisy Mae.  Daisy Mae never had any formal obedience or behavior training and this was my client’s first dog.  Needless to say, Daisy Mae was a little crazy.  We initially worked on her need for focus and manners.  She had been allowed to get away with anything that she wanted and that needed to stop. After a few role-playing exercises and a good amount of education imparted to my client, Daisy Mae started to give him the focus he needed to direct her to the right actions. 

Stop having your dog jump and be crazy all over your house guests

Once she was calm, respectful, and focused on him, we moved on to the standard obedience exercises. We got her to come to my client when called, sit when directed, stay when told, and calmly walk on a leash.  My client was thrilled with what he had been able to accomplish and excited to continue the process.  I asked my client if there was anything else he wanted to work on that day. He thought for a moment and then remembered about Daisy Mae and guests.

He told me that Daisey Mae would go completely nuts when he had guests over.  Although she was a little crazy when he, his wife, or kids come in the house; guests and friends were an entirely different subject. She would jump on them and it was next to impossible to have her leave them alone.  After chasing her, pulling her off their guests, and a lot of “NO NO NO NO”, he would normally put her in a crate in the garage or toss her in the back yard.  The problem was that she would just bark in the crate or jump and scratch at the back door. He wondered how he could take what he learned today to fix that.

I started off by comforting my client with the fact that most “happy dogs” like Labrador Retrievers like to greet new people with a jump.  This doesn’t mean that they should do it, it is just a fact of what they normally do.  We can normally “train” our family members and people who regularly come to our home how to discourage this behavior.  Also, because our family members and regular guests are in our home all the time, Daisy Mae has figured out “who they are” and that they aren’t “new play toys for her”.

Although this jumping and “crazy” problem can arise with new and first time “pop over for the afternoon or coming to dinner” guests, it is most annoying for everyone when we have house guests that are staying with us for several days.  Although annoying, we can often deal with the problem for a short time, but when it may go on for days and days; that is just too much.

One solution to this problem is to simply ignore and redirect it.  Before your house guests arrive for their week visit, take your dog to a boarding facility.  I don’t like this solution because it ignores the real problem, deprives you from the companionship of your dog, and can cost a lot of money.

We must educate our house guests and our dog how to get used to each other as quickly as possible so that everyone can have a good time.  Here is our suggestion:

  • When your house guest arrives, meet them outside by yourself. Once all the “hello’s” have taken place, have another family member bring Daisy Mae outside.
  • Have Daisy Mae on a leash. Have her sit at the front door, just inside the threshold as your family member opens the door.
  • Next, have your family member step outside, keeping Daisy Mae sitting inside.
  • Once the family member is outside, invite Daisy Mae outside and have her sit again.
  • Now, have your family member walk Daisy Mae around the yard for a moment, keeping her calm and focused on the family member. Both you and your guest should stand still, but always face Daisy Mae.
  • Have your family member slowly walk up to you, allowing Daisy Mae to approach as she sees fit. If she starts to pull back, you and your guest should stoop and pat your leg in a friendly manner.
  • Allow Daisy Mae to sniff your guest.
  • Ask her to sit.
  • Now, ask your guest to go inside the house to whatever room you use as your “family gathering place”. They should remain standing in the middle of that room.
  • You can now take the leash and walk Daisy Mae in the house and in the room with your guest. Allow Daisy Mae to approach your guest again and sniff.
  • Guide her away for a moment and ask your guest to sit.
  • Guide Daisy Mae up to your guest again to assure she is still calm and comfortable with your guest.
  • You and Daisy Mae should now sit down about ten feet away from your guest. Drop the leash and begin a normal conversation.
  • Ask the guest to slowly get up and move around the room. If Daisy Mae starts to become agitated, step on the leash and guide her back to you.
  • You should now get up and move around the room with your guest. As long as your dog isn’t showing any signs of heightened focus or agitation, everything is now fine.
  • If Daisy Mae shows any signs of agitation or heightened focus, keep her on the leash at your side (you can move around and do whatever you need to do) for a few more hours. Repeat dropping the leash with your guest nearby until Daisy Mae no longer focuses on your guest.

What we have done here is to provide a sliding level of introduction for Daisy Mae while we keep complete control of the situation.  Keeping her on a leash minimizes any concern (stated or not) from your house guest.  Both these actions show Daisy Mae that you are in charge and there is nothing to worry about.  She can just go about her own business as if nothing has changed.

Don’t fret; house guests can be the hardest to train.

Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help.  We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over sixteen years.  We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.