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How to train my dog to behave around visitors?

18/12/2021 - Puppy & Dog Training Advice

Preparing Your Dog for Visitors
A common problem we are approached about by many of you, is that of how to teach your dogs to behave appropriately when visitors enter the home. In the wake of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, many of our dogs are less prepared than ever for visitors! So, how can we help our pups to feel safe, relaxed and happy as well as stopping our little mischief makers from upsetting our guests? Here are our top four tips for preparing your dog for visitors…

The number one top tip for keeping everyone safe and happy has to be management. This can range from closed doors, to baby gates in doorways, to a crate or pen for your dog – whatever works best for you and your dog in your home. Loose, excited dogs around open front doors are a recipe for disaster, and it is often nearly impossible to stop our dogs from leaping all over our guests and having just a wonderful time! Letting our dogs practice these unwanted behaviours is the best way to make sure it happens again, so a baby gate to keep them out of the hallway is the first step to stopping these bad habits from forming!

Training “Settle on a Mat”
Something our clients will have often heard us talk about is the importance of showing our dogs what we DO want them to do, rather than focusing on what we DON’T want to see. Teaching our dogs to settle on their mat or bed is a great way to show our dogs what behaviour we would like to see from them when guests enter the home. You can learn more about teaching this settle behaviour in our Dogversity Pub Dog Course.

Giving Our Dogs a Safe Space
This can be a cosy space in another room, a dog pen or a crate – make sure it is set up to be comfortable and relaxing, and is in a quiet part of the household. For dogs who are a little unsure of new people, especially in their home, making sure they have a safe, quiet space away from the drama is essential - but even for our social butterflies, this is a great way to make sure they have space to decompress and rest. Just like us, dogs can become tired and start to feel anxious or irritable, even if they love seeing people! Many dogs typically love to be in the centre of the action and they won’t take themselves off for a nap even if they’re exhausted, so creating a relaxing space and encouraging our pups to use it is a great way to help them out when they’re too worried about missing out to put themselves to bed! 
You can find more information on crate training in our Puppy’s First Steps course on Dogversity.

Start With Short Visits
Try to find time to have one or two calm visitors over for a cup of coffee before inviting the whole family over to stay the night! As with many things that we want our dogs to feel confident, calm and comfortable around, introducing visitors gradually is the best way to avoid a stressful situation that our pups can’t cope with. 

If you need help with visitor training you can also take part in our Dogversity visitor training course here 

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