==> Your GSD jumping up, barking at, or humping your Guests?
Unless you like that, read this:
Enjoy a Well-Behaved Dog When You Have Guests
This is a very common problem, right? We have guests in the house, or we meet our friends or relatives somewhere outside, and the dog shows embarassing if not frightening behavior. Can you relate?
Well, our GSDs never did any of that but that's because we have trained them right. And so can you. This MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL aims at helping you with just that. Training your dog to make you proud when you have guests!
Many, many topics feed into this one:
- Barking for attention and barking at the door
- Dog-People aggression, Dominance aggression, and Territorial aggression
- Jumping up on people
- Keeping your dog out of a No-Go zone
- Calming signals
- Pack leadership, and many more
If you have no access to Dan's online dog training video site, you will particularly welcome the following key points how to get a well-behaved dog when you have guests - or when you meet your friends or relatives outside.
Before your guests arrive, ensure your dog is calm and relaxed.
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
If your dog is not calm, you have several options. The main options are:
- Do 5 to 10 min SSCD (Start - Stop - Change Direction) with your German Shepherd - for SSCD see eg GSD Leash Training Secrets or GSD Puppy Leash Training
- Do 1 to 3 min Collar-Freeze with your German Shepherd - again, see GSD Leash Training Secrets
- Give your dog a full body massage or at least a neck and shoulder massage - for the benefits of dog massage as positive energy releaser see at the end of Unreleased Energy Issue
- Provide your GSD with some heavy exercise to exhaust your dog - heavy exercise is among the top treats for German Shepherds and other working dog breeds
When your guests arrive and ring the doorbell, do not let your dog be the first at the door. This is generally applicable advice. You should always be the gatekeeper, and your dog should be slightly behind you. You can and should practice this many times before you actually get guests that you care about.
So, when the doorbell rings, slowly walk to the door, with your GSD in tow. In case your dog stormed towards the door already, make your dog sit at a full body length behind you. Do not open the door before your dog complies and is calm. - Again, practice this beforehand or at least inform your guests why it may take a moment before you open the door.
Inviting Guests Inside
Before you open the door, ensure your dog is behind you. Some dog owners lock their dog away before they open the front door. I am against this.
Here's why: One of the reasons why all of us have (or want) a German Shepherd is, I hope, because GSDs are a superior guard dog too. But if you lock away your dog, or confine your dog to an outside kennel(!), then there is very limited chance for your GSD to protect you, in case you get an unwanted visitor instead of a friendly guest.
And almost all other dog owners I know (who don't lock their dog away) allow their dog to storm towards the door when the doorbell rings - instead of training their dog to remain behind them. Is your dog one of those?
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
So, again, ensure your GSD is behind you before you open the door, and particularly before you invite your guests inside your house.
How to Train Your Dog to Stay Behind You
Now you may wonder: But how do I get my dog to stay behind me?
This requires some dedicated dog training long before your guests arrive:
- Make your dog sit (indoors or outdoors doesn't matter)
- Under eye contact and while saying "Staaaay", move two steps backwards, away from your dog
- If your GSD remained calm and sitting, go and briefly reward your dog (praise and affection are great reward types for this situation, see Adult GSD Training Essentials or GSD Puppy Training Essentials) - if not, repeat but continue to move at least two steps backwards
- Once successful, increase the distance you move away from your dog, then even turn the back on your dog, then even run away from your dog
- Finally, use all imaginable forms of distraction (involving people is great!) until you are totally sure that your GSD fully complies with the Stay-Command no matter what!
Behavior to Require from Your Guests
Now, you open the door, greet your guests, and invite them inside. Half way through you might give them a hug, and even then your GSD has to remain behind you (see above how to train your dog to stay, even when other people are distracting your dog).
If you are a new GSD owner, don't you worry: Already a GSD puppy of 4 months of age has so much sense of protection that (s)he is able to clearly differentiate between a friendly hug between you and friends, and an assault by a stranger.
Only when you say "Okay!" to your dog (or whatever Release command you prefer), you allow sniffing the guests. This, any dog must be allowed to do, because sniffing anything new is part of the canine genetical heritage.
Now I almost hear you screaming: "But my dog is not just sniffing my guests, (s)he is jumping up on them, and some of my guests are just scared!"
- Sure, no problem, be a bit patient please and see below.
Train your Guests
What you must require from your untrained guests (and what you should tell them beforehand as well) is that they don't immediately give attention to your dog: No eye contact, no talking, no patting, no nada. Just standing upright and basically ignoring your dog - with one initial exception, and this is where I disagree with Dan's approach:
Before your guests step inside your house (and similarly outside say on a walk, before friends come close to you), they should very briefly but clearly seek your dog's eye contact and indicate a light bow to your dog (nodding the head down for a second is enough, and from a distance is fine too).
Dogs in general, and particularly GSDs are very sensitive to our human body language . They do notice from our gestures and facial expressions a lot more than most of us can even imagine! And your GSD certainly notices whether your guests pay respect to your dog's sense of territory or not.
The brief eye contact and subsequent light bow or nodding before stepping into your dog's assumed territory (whether inside your house or out on the road) serve exactly this purpose - and they do so very well indeed. Try it! Not just once, but several times.
If you don't believe me, see it as a game and ask various people in various situations to behave the way I suggested above, and record/notice your dog's behavior. Then don't ask various people in various situations, just let them behave as they normally do, and again record/notice your dog's behavior. Now you will be convinced - and you've enjoyed a fun experience too!
How to Train Your Dog Not to Jump Up
If ever you appreciate the immense work to maintain this uniquely helpful house, feel free to donate a meal.
As .ORG we depend on your (rare!) donations: however small it helps, THANKS SO MUCH!
PLEASE SHARE with your circle what we share with you:
Any problem with the social share buttons, PLEASE say here to help everyone.