Teaching a Dog to Calm itself Down When People Come to the Door

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 30, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we were called in to help 2 year-old Vizsla Pit mix Tator Tot stop getting over excited when people come to visit.

Many people confuse excitement for happiness in dogs. But being over excited is an unbalanced state of mind just like stress, anger, fear. The guardians were also in the habit of petting him when they first arrived home which reinforced this excited behavior and made it more intense each time.

Just like humans, dogs are more prone to making mistakes when in an unbalanced state of mind. Being a rescue dog, Tator had a few other issues we worked with in this session and being over excited can make things more intense.

Tator had also bitten a few people, including the day of this session. After discussing it with the guardians, I learned that today’s incident was likely a result of multiple factors all coming to a head at the wrong time.

Due to an injury to her foot, Tatar’s guardian hadn’t been able to run with him. As a higher energy dog, going without exercise is often a catalyst for other dog behavior problems. I shared some tips on creative ways to exercise him inside to eliminate that part of the problem.

When they do get back to running, this video link will help them teach the dog to stay calm while being leashed.

When I first arrived, Tator was in the kennel and there was some anxiety and tension due to his bite. I sat down outside his crate and hung out giving him a chance to meet me by scent and calm down. Once he was settled, I showed the guardian how to let him out of the kennel in a more structured way. It would be wise of the guardians to keep repeating this kennel exiting exercise to help him practice being calm before something he really likes happens.

I also recommended the guardians ignore him when they first return home. This is an exciting time for many dogs and anything your dog is doing when you pet it is what you will amplify or encourage. So petting a dog each time you come home when its excited will make things worse each time.

I show the guardians how to teach the dog to calm itself down by waiting at the door in the free dog training video below.

Stopping a dog from getting too excited isn’t hard, it just takes time, practice and good observation. As soon as the dog starts to show excitement, stopping and waiting for it to calm down on its own can help it learn that calm behavior is rewarded and excitement causes delays.

We spent the rest of the session sharing tips on how to add rules, structure and the importance of rewarding desired actions to motivate the dog to stay calm and offer those behaviors on his own.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we filmed a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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