Teaching your dog about polite greetings

My dog jumps on people as soon as they walk in the door! is one of the biggest complaints I hear from people. I get it – it can be really stressful when your dog goes crazy as soon as she hears a knock on the door or the doorbell. The good news is that there are a few strategies that you can implement to reduce this behavior.


1. If you know someone is coming over, take your dog outside to meet them and come in together.
 Sometimes just eliminating the high alert that comes from a knock on the door or from ringing the doorbell is enough.

2. Ask people to ignore your dog. Your dog is likely going crazy for one of two reasons – he LOVES people or he is SCARED of people. Either way, your dog is going crazy because he wants the attention or doesn’t want the attention, so ignoring the barking and jumping can be very effective.

3. Have some treats at the door so guests can ask your dog to sit or help your dog feel better. If your dog is super focused on the person coming in the door, having a guest ask for or wait for a polite sit can re-focus that attention and give your dog some training practice! If your dog is more toy motivated than treat motivated, have a tennis ball or other toy by the door instead of a treat.

If your dog wishes the person would just go away, have your guest drop a treat or two while walking past and ignoring the dog. Do not require your dog to take the treat from the person, and just have your guest continue to ignore your dog.

4. Ask your guest to go back out the door and try to come in again. Repeat as necessary. This is the one that requires the most effort from your guests, and is only effective if your dog is excited to see people. Here’s how it works: Guest walks in. Dog goes crazy. Guest walks out. Repeat until your dog keeps all four feet on the ground, or sits (whatever your preferred behavior is), and then your guest can give your dog attention.

Note: If your dog is afraid of people, this strategy isn’t recommended. Having the person leave might reinforce that the barking and acting crazy is a strategy that works and makes people leave.

Have you tried any of these strategies? Which one worked best for you?