Completed Behavior Looks Like: A dog that keeps all four feet on the ground while visiting guests.
For dogs that are mild jumpers, offering the dog a toy filled with FORSTA treats whenever guests arrive will work nicely. If your dog does not happily take the toy and lie down to work on the puzzle, I’ve written a more detailed training plan below.
Keep in mind, dogs are bred and raised in either two categories: to love strangers or to be wary of them. Both of these categories make focusing on people coming through the front door a VBD (Very Big Deal).
The most important part of this training is that jumping up does not get practiced. So, for some dogs this is going to mean using a leash, holding onto their collar, or picking them up when training is new. If you are physically unable to restrain your dog, install a Chew Proof Tether near the front door. If this is happening on walks, practice by connecting the tether or leash securely to a securely bolted down park bench.
When you first begin, you are preventing the jumping, so you are touching your dog’s collar or leash. If you have treats on you, give him 2 or 3 to gain his attention. If he won’t eat them, and you are using fresh chicken or cheese, your dog may be a bit nervous during greetings. Still offer the treats but don’t fret if he wont eat.
While preventing the jumping, allow the visitor to put their hand out so the dog can smell and interact. At the same time, drop treats on the floor so the dog is encouraged to lower his center of gravity.
What you will usually see is a dog who eats a few treats and then happily focuses on the person and then you drop more treats and it continues.
Each time you open the door, repeat this sequence. This will teach your dog to expect something better from you, than the novelty of a person visiting. The more you practice, the more your dog will focus on you when people visit, which will give you the opportunity to delay the treats.
Practice the sequence until your dog is eagerly waiting for you to drop treats on the floor instead of jumping on your guests once they walk inside. Then, instead of dropping treats at the entry point, walk into the other room (dog happily following behind) and give the treats near the fridge, where the best goodies are stored.
Once you’ve gotten to this point, you can offer your dog a toy filled with FORSTA treats to happily entertain and engage them for a longer period while you have company over.
This will create a calming routine, one where your dog lowers their arousal through activity and mental fatigue.