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Company Is Coming! Turning “Uh-Oh” into “Aahh”
By: Trish Phillips
It’s almost inevitable this time of year, regardless of which holiday you celebrate in your household. There are more knocks on the door. More people stop by. Some of them even come and stay. It is a great time to reconnect with friends and family. And, for most of us, our pets are part of the family – so we want to include them in the festivities.
My place isn’t the “grand central station” that my parents’ house was... with seven brothers and sisters, just the immediate family meant that 10 people were coming and going. Knocks on the door and people stopping by are rarer than they are commonplace. So, the behaviors that my pets (Opie and Floyd) exhibit when someone stops by are acceptable to me. Opie gets excited and runs in circles and jumps up and down, much like young children do when they see grandma or grandpa. Most people who come over know him and expect this reaction.
This year, I am hoping (nearly confident, but still hoping) that his behavior will be a little less exuberant for planned get-togethers. We have been working with Marilyn to modify some behaviors through in-home private training. One behavior we are improving is his response to knocks at the door. Another is having him go to his mat instead of rushing the door and jumping on whoever or whatever is on the other side.
One of the main advantages to in-home training is that you can work on specific issues as they naturally happen. Marilyn works with you to determine appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and then demonstrates how to modify inappropriate behaviors into more appropriate ones. For example, it is acceptable in my home for Opie to bark when someone knocks at the door or rings the buzzer. It is not acceptable for him to continue barking after I’ve signaled to him that I’ve got it under control. Instead, I signal for him to go to his mat (usually with a treat or toy) while I answer the door.
We are not perfect at this yet... and may not ever be. However, I can say that my 13-year-old dog has learned a new trick with Marilyn’s help: He doesn’t rush the door, jump on and knock down the person standing in the doorway. This is a vast improvement from last year.
It is not too late to work with your dog to improve troublesome behaviors before the holiday company rush arrives! Visit www.pure-spirit.com for information about in-home training or call 952-226-2660 to schedule your consultation.
CLICK HERE to read last year’s article about door manners.