Coming home to your dog after a long day can be extremely chaotic... I mean, enjoyable? 😉
If every time you walk in the door your dog goes crazy, then this episode is for you!
It can often be tempting to be overly excited and amped up when you get home, but that can be a huge mistake... Here are 3 tips to help make your coming home experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Tip #1: Watch Your Energy
Dogs read our emotions and energy, much more so than you might think!
If you walk in the door and are amped up, talking in a high-pitched voice, and are overly excited then your dog probably will be too...
When you walk in, stay as calm as possible and avoid doing anything that may inadvertently reinforce your dog's unwanted behaviors. That can include giving attention, pets, or talking to your dog while they are jumping, barking, or acting hyper.
Give your dog time to calm down, and stay calm yourself.
Tip #2: Fake Exits & Practice Before the Real Thing
Practice makes perfect... and the same goes for door greetings!
It's beyond important to try out the training techniques for door greetings outside of the context of you coming home after being gone for a few hours.
Try leaving, locking the door behind you, etc, and then coming back in 30 seconds and practicing proper greetings. Do that at random times throughout the day for random short intervals.
If the only time you try to get your dog to sit when being greeted is when they're already amped up, you're doomed to fail!
Tip #3- Redirection & Alternative Behaviors
Those first few seconds when you come home will set the tone for the rest of that greeting experience... So try to make that initial approach as easy as possible for your dog.
Here are a few things that have worked well in our home with 2 large labs that can be very hyper.
1. Right when you walk in, ignore your dog and then throw a handful of treats on the ground. This will get their nose to the ground, excited to find food. That 20-30 second distraction can really help reset their brain.
2. Go straight to play. Walk in and grab their favorite ball or toy then ask for a simple behavior like sit or look at me. Once they do, throw the toy/ball and have some simple fun. Again, those few moments of distraction/redirection can help reset your dog's brain.
3. Use a frozen treat or another treat. Right when you walk in, grab a frozen Lick Mat and give it to your pup. As he/she is distracted and happily licking the toy, you can give them pets and attention.
Calm door greetings take a LOT of time, effort, and practice. Remember that with all of these tips, the overarching tip/concept is to only reward the correct behaviors.
Be strict about not giving pets, attention, or praise when your dog is jumping, barking, or acting crazy.
By implementing these tips over an extended period of time you can achieve less chaotic door greetings!