Welcome to our weekly feature called Ask-a-Trainer Thursday. Each week, we take questions from our social media audiences and then ask a positive based trainer for their advice in each situation.
This week’s question came to us from Anna in Kitchener, ON. She asks:
My 13 month old golden retriever loves people and loves meeting new dogs. When we’re out for a walk, or when we have visitors over, he often gets so over excited all of his training goes out the window. He jumps and pulls and will do anything to get to the new dog/person. It can be very jarring for new people who don’t know Oliver and it can cause a lot of stress for both myself and my partner.
How do we teach him to remain calm in situations where there are new people and new dogs? How can we help him deal with his excitement?
We asked Jess Croezen of Impressive Canines for her advice. Here’s what she had to say:
Thank you for your great training question!
For any greeting, it comes down to self- control and controlling the environment. On walks, you will need to teach him that if he sits and waits calmly, he may say hello to the person or other dog when you release him with a cue such as “Go See”. Make sure you don’t release him until he is in a calm relaxed state. If you release and he starts getting over excited again, or jumps, then walk him away (a short distance). Wait for him to be calm again and then try another greeting. Remember that it’s three strikes and you’re out. If he can’t stay calm after three tries, walk away, and he loses that greeting.
In your house, you can do a lot of prep work. I teach my dogs to stay behind an imaginary line I draw with my hand and use the word “wait” as I wave my hand across this line. I slowly build up time and distance until I can get to the door and open it without them crossing the imaginary line I’ve drawn. As they get better, have your partner add in door knocks, doorbells and other distractions to proof his “wait”.
Timing, consistency, understanding and small positive steps is the key. If you are struggling with reading his body language cues, or need any other assistance, I offer private training sessions and can assist you on your path to success!
Do you have a question about dog behaviour in general or why your dog acts a certain way? Leave your question in the comments below and we’ll get a positive based dog trainer to answer it for you.