When you have guests over, does your dog lose self-control and go crazy? If so, you’re not alone! Many dogs, especially puppies, enjoy meeting new people, and they’re going to welcome visitors with open arms.
But if you have an overly excited dog, unfortunately, their energy can sometimes accidentally hurt someone. As a pet parent, calming your dog is your responsibility and an expression of your love and care for them.
Keep reading to get all 10 proven tips on how to keep your dog calm when guests arrive!
10 Tips on How to Keep Your Dog Calm When Guests Arrive
1. Socialize Your Dog Early
During the first three months of life, puppies will go through a socialization period that permanently shapes their future personalities and how they react to their surroundings as adults.
The best way to create calm behavior around people is to socialize your dog early by gently exposing them to a wide variety of people, places, and situations. It helps your dog feel calmer in the presence of visitors and other animals.
2. Start Training Your Dog as Soon as Possible
If you want to change your dog’s behavior in the long run, you must start training them immediately.
Here’re the key steps that encourage calm greetings and shift attention back to you (the owner):
As you keep doing this, you’ll find that your dog can remain calm for longer when greeting. It’s crucial to practice these steps before you have guests because practicing during the actual event will likely lead to chaos.
3. Never Allow Your Dog to Jump Up on You
Unfortunately, many owners frequently create bad habits in their dogs without realizing it. Your dog will learn that jumping on people is acceptable if you let them do it to you. So when coming home from work or the store, refuse to greet your pup that way unless all four paws are on the floor.
As soon as they jump up, turn your back. If they run around to jump up again, turn the other way. Repeat this until they calm down and stop jumping.
4. Draw Their Attention Elsewhere
You can engage your furry friend in a stimulating or entertaining activity to redirect their attention during someone’s arrival.
You can also let your dog self-soothe by spreading tasty treats onto a licking mat. It has been shown that the repetitive action of licking causes the brain to release endorphins, which in turn have a calming effect in dogs.
5. Put Your Dog in Their Favorite Space
If your dog doesn’t have their own space, now is the time to give them one. It can be a unique bed, blanket, crate, kennel, or a spot in your house that attracts them the most.
If your dog gets too excited and starts jumping or barking, put them in their favorite spot with a hollow toy that you can fill with mouthwatering peanut butter and treats. Keep them busy for about 30 minutes, and then take them out again to meet everyone.
6. Leash Your Dog
Most people use an excited voice when greeting dogs, which obviously increases their excitement! Sometimes, a simple act like putting a leash on your dog can make all the difference because it gives you more control and reminds your dog not to jump. It also gives him indications of a walk or a ride to the dog park, and he’d like a little of that.
7. Stay Calm
Being calm when guests arrive is also very important. The ability of dogs to communicate with humans is unlike any other in the animal kingdom. Remember that they are experts at reading our emotions, so if you feel anxious, they may react accordingly. You will want your dog to be mentally relaxed when they meet your guests.
When the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door, don’t race to open it because that will make your dog feel excited and run after you right away. Instead, tell them to sit and stay still before you gently open the door.
8. Ask Guests to Ignore Your Dog
This tip works very well if your guests aren’t dog people! If someone gives the vibe that they don’t feel comfortable around dogs, tell them to ignore the dog when they arrive. It’s a win-win. Your guests will be more at ease, and your dog will be less agitated.
9. Make Sure Your Dog Isn’t Bored
Without adequate exercise and stimulation, your furry friend can become bored, engage in inappropriate behaviors, and cause trouble at the door. So, to relieve their pent-up energy, take them for a daily walk. The more outdoor exercise they receive, the easier it will be for them to relax at home, even if something interesting happens.
10. Go Out for a Walk Together
If you have guests who would love to go for a walk, this is a great way to introduce someone to your dog. But don’t allow them to greet people until after a walk, as this time they will be much calmer and able to do so without jumping.
Note that many areas, from small city parks to state and national parks, don’t allow dogs to be off-leash. Therefore, you should keep your dog on a leash in public areas unless it’s an off-leash zone to avoid injury and discomfort to people and native animals.
The 10 tips in this article won’t change your dog’s behavior overnight. But with regular practice, your dog will learn that being calm when guests arrive is far more rewarding than being hyperactive, and after that, they’re more likely to behave politely. However, if you have done everything in your power and they’re still unable to be calm, you should discuss the issue with your veterinarian.
Featured Image Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay