Step 4: Set it up

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Next, invite a VERY compliant friend or family member over and practice your visitor routine. Start small—one person first, then, once that is going well, invite a couple of people. You must use compliant people for the practice, otherwise, it will all go sideways in a heartbeat and you’ll have to restart the training.

Prepare them in advance so that they know what to do when the dog comes to greet them.

1: Place a sign on the door that says “please be patient: dog in training” – this buys you some time so that your visitor is not repeatedly ringing the doorbell or knocking.

2: Leave a bag of freeze-dried liver or chicken outside the door and advise your guests to take 3 pieces prior to entering your home.

3: When your dog is en route to greet them, they should immediately place one treat on the floor at their feet. This stops the jump before it happens. Once your dog has consumed the treat, the visitor can then ask for a sit (if your dog knows this cue) and reward this behaviour. Otherwise, they can reward a stand – all four paws on the floor. If your dog jumps on them, they should immediately withhold food, turn their back and take a few steps away. You can step in and remove your dog at this point, or if they seem like they are able to restart the exercise, they can – right back at the start of #3.

4: This leaves one treat for when they come in and get settled – they can ask for a sit once they’ve gotten comfortable on the couch or in a chair.

At any point, if your dog becomes over-excited, you simply lead them away and manage with a stuffed Kong behind a gate, pen, or using a tether. This prevents your dog from practicing the unwanted behaviours and teaches them that jumping is what causes them to be removed from the visitor they so desire. Many people let their dog drag a leash during this exercise until it is solidly trained.