Dear Ms. Plaid:

Our dog Buddy is like a family member, but sometimes I think he is the black sheep of the family.  Buddy is great around our grandchildren and known family members, but often gets over excited with new people and jumps on them.  He’s not a huge dog, but it embarrasses me that he is not well trained.  Buddy is five years old, is there any hope in training him?

– Buddy’s Mother

Dear Buddy’s Mother:

My pets are like family members and like my children it is my responsibility to ensure their behavior is reflective of me and my values.  So unless you want people to think you get overexcited and want to hug them continuously when they enter the home, this behavior must be stopped.

You mentioned that he is good when dealing with known friends and family so that’s great.  We just need to get Buddy in the habit for new people.  To create a new habit, we must be consistent in behavior so Buddy understands the new process.

First let’s define what we want Buddy to do.  If Buddy were my dog I would want him to come to the front door to “meet and greet” the guest, but sit at my feet.

There are two approaches to try:

  1. Next time a visitor comes to your home and Buddy jumps on the person (hopefully a dog loving person) instruct that person to completely ignore Buddy. If Buddy is ignored often enough the behavior will not be reinforced.  When you give Buddy attention, even scolding attention, you are showing Buddy that when he acts out you will react.
  2. Additionally, if Buddy is leash trained and you know a visitor is coming over put him on the leash and walk him to the door on the leash. Welcome the guest and instruct Buddy to sit while on the leash.  I have found that the “leash” indicates more disciple for my dogs.  Through repeated behavior on the leash when greeting guests, Buddy will be able to go off leash.

Best of luck Buddy and shoot us your picture to  Plaid loves pets so send in your pet pictures, or share on our Facebook page.

Bonus points if your pet is wearing Plaid!!!!!