Want Fido to stop trampling everyone who walks through your door?
Check out our guide for how to train your dog to greet visitors nicely!
Every time I’m expecting visitors, the scene is the same. I try to time it just right and get my dogs outside before my guests arrive.
If I don’t, they bum-rush the door, Gracie jumping around like a cat on a hot tin roof and Lucy trying her darnedest to make a break for it (then inappropriately sniffing our visitors).
It’s embarrassing and irritating.
There has to be a better way, right?
Related: How to teach your dog to roll over
How to Train Your Dog to Greet Visitors
I’ve been to others’ houses and not been attacked by their dogs the minute I enter the door, so I know it is possible to train your dog to greet visitors nicely.
But how? After researching several different training options, here are the steps I think will work best for my dogs.
Let’s try them together!
1- Desensitize to knocking or the doorbell.
For my dogs, the craziness starts with the doorbell ringing. You can either train your dog to stop reacting, or train your family to stop ringing the bell!
Honestly, it’s easier to train dogs than people!
Try these steps for desensitizing your dog to the doorbell:
- Put your dog on the leash, and ask a friend or family member to go outside and ring the doorbell or knock.
- Hold the leash tightly and say “no bark” as your dog starts barking after hearing the bell. Once your dog calms down, have him sit, and give him a treat and praise.
- Keep up this routine until he’s mastered not pulling on the leash and barking (don’t expect success in one training session – this will take some time!).
- Next, teach the same behavior with the same process when he’s off the leash.
2- Teach him how and where to sit.
Now that your dog isn’t going nuts when the doorbell rings, teach him how and where he should sit when a guest comes in the door.
This one starts with you and your return from being away.
Try these three steps to train your dog to sit nicely by the door:
- When you first come in the door, ignore your dog until she stops jumping. I know this can be hard, especially if you have an emphatic jumper who is just SO happy to see you! Ignoring is crucial, though!
- Once your pup gives up on trying to get your attention the crazy way, show her where to sit near the door and give her treats.
- Keep up this training until she sits in her spot from the moment you walk in the door. Lots of treats and praise will help!
Check out these tips on how to train your dog to sit!
3- Now it’s time to practice with other people.
Once your dog has mastered the art of sitting nicely when you come home, it’s time to bring other people into the mix. Start with just one person!
Ask a friend who loves dogs (and doesn’t mind jumpers) to come help you. Prepare him or her to ignore your dog just as you did in the previous step until he’s sitting nicely.
Then, have your friend give treats and praise. Stay with your dog and require him to stay in his sitting spot while your friend goes in the other room.
Dismiss your dog to go visit with your friend a moment, then continue with your visit; your dog shouldn’t be made the center of attention.
In subsequent visits, slowly start working toward you being able to leave and go to the other room without your dog following. Call his name when it’s time for him to join you.
4-Slowly increase the number of guests.
It can be overwhelming for your dog to have a lot of people come to the house, but she needs to learn.
Once your dog has mastered all of the above steps, move on to small groups. Again, choose people who love dogs!
Just follow the same process as in step 3 until your dog learns how to act around groups of people.
Remember, you’re dog is learning something new, and so are you! Success may take some time, but don’t give up!
More importantly, don’t get angry at your dog or punish him. You don’t want him to feel like you’re not happy to see him. The idea is to get him to greet visitors nicely, not run in fear and cower in a corner every time you come home!
I’m excited to give these steps a try with my dogs. I can just imagine the relief I’ll feel when guests come over and I don’t have to worry about my dogs’ behavior! Make sure to come back and post how the training is working for you and your dog so we can all learn together.