Whenever we go home to my parents' house, my dogs are so excited to see us that they're out of control. One of them likes to jump on us. And they both bark incessantly at us and at each other. It's almost like they're yelling at each other, fighting for attention.
The jumping usually only occurs when they see us for the first time, but the barking can come and go throughout the day. Do you have any tips for these two problems?
This is a common problem. And one of obedience. I will give you some guidelines to follow (training) and it will eventually solve the problem. But remember, without doing the basic obedience there is no magic cure.
The process of arriving is a very exciting event. It does set them off. "Hey...we're at grandma's... oh boy... normal rules don't apply...let's be crazy...let's jump and bark and be annoying..." and they see that as perfectly normal!
However, it is not normal for trained dogs.
It is okay to be excited, but they have to learn what to do with that excitement. First I suggest a basic obedience course. Here you (they) will learn the down-stay command. When entering the house, or even on the porch you put them into a down-stay. very well trained dogs should down stay for a long time WITH distractions. that is a trained dog.
When in the down-stay you greet your parents either in the yard, on the porch or in the doorway - but they must remain in that position, until you release them. Then they may have a little excited time, then they must calm down.
A Gentle Leader halter device works VERY well when training and when needing control over out of control dogs. Look it up online.
You will have to actually set up training sessions (ONCE they are trained) at your parents house where the main stimulus (arriving, entering, greeting) is set up and you make them do what you want them to do.... self-control. what is the best way to do that?? Put them in a Down-stay that they have practiced for months, at various lengths with various distractions. Treat them when they are behaving properly (all the things you will learn in Obedience class). ALSO they only get praise or treats WHEN ALL FOUR FEET ARE ON THE GROUND!!
Another tip is for your parents to IGNORE the dogs completely for 10-15 minutes upon entering. Do anything that decreases the excitement of the Arrival Event!!
But THE number one thing you can do is obedience training, focusing on the down-stay and having them become 'pros' at this manuver with and without distractions for varying lengths. It really works, BUT does take time and commitment on your part.
there IS NO simple answer other than this.
This is the time I wish we had a "Pill" for good behavior. Unfortunately it takes work in the training department.
I like Dr. JIm's comments and certainly a good training class is a good idea for all dogs.
I would also suggest an easy solution for the jumping up. We do many in-home consults for dogs with problems and we always take tiny tidbits of irresistible treats, and toss them on the floor for the dog as soon as we enter the house. The dog can't be jumping and barking and foraging for treats at the same time. Some dogs are more interested in fetching toys than eating, so an alternative is to throw a ball or other favorite toy a few times.
Once some of the initial excitement dies down you can then ask the dog to sit for a treat, or sit before throwing the ball.
For more suggestions on managing Chaos at the Door, see our audio CD by the same name at
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