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Dog excitement around humans.
As a newborn dog trainer I got to learn new skills and tear down ideas I had in my mind on how to encounter any dog.
As we live in a country where people are over-loving and affectionate to one another, we transfer the same behaviors towards dogs. However, when the dog gets really excited it is common currency that we order them to be quiet and stay in place, we never question ourselves if we made the dog overexcited.
One of the first behaviors I changed as a person first and now as a dog trainer with my clients is how to greet dogs.
The most important part is how the dogs feels around us. Not every dog is super friendly, there is a wide range of different behaviors as breeds of dogs. For instance there can be shy or introvert dogs, there are fearful and friendly dogs, dogs who have had traumatic experiences, or some that have never seen anything traumatizing. As humans we need to be as prepared as possible to the future encounter of dogs, be it on the street or at a friends house.
DO NOT STRECH YOUR HAND
I get it, this has been the done thing for decades.. but we know better now, and we have witnessed situations like this result in disaster our outcomes. Dogs do not need to smell the back of someone’s hand to decide if they are friend or foe.
The dog’s sense of smell is their super power. If you can see a dog it can smell you....
And your aftershave, and your brand of soap, deodorant, body odour, breath, toothpaste, how much you had to drink last night, what kind of coffee you drink, whether you had sugar in it, what kind of mood you're in, if you have covid and if they want to be your friend.
If you want to meet a dog that doesn’t know you, don't thrust your hand in their face, its offensive and dangerous. Dogs do not like things that move directly at their face, especially people or things they are not familiar with. Instead, ask the owner if you can meet the dog, if they say yes, stand side on, pat your leg and call the dog over to you. If the dog ignores you, then you do not have consent.
If you see a dog in training, with a service or work vest on, or a dog giving his owner a hard time the best thing you can do is ignore them all together.
BECOME A TREE!
The safest way to not get scratched or bitten by a dog in most greetings is to turn into a tree and stand still. Do not speak or move in order for the dog to settle and move away or their human put them on a leash.
It is not easy since there are many dogs who have been reinforced the behavior of jumping in other scenarios, and unfortunately dogs are unable to distinguish when jumping and biting is permitted and when it is not. Only those dogs who have been appropriately been trained can be able to manage it, but you can count them with the fingers of one hand. So to be on the safe side, stand still.
If it is your dog that gets really excited whenever you come back home, this exercise is pawrfect to improve your dogs habits. Start by entering your home quietly, greet them nice and low, do not start yelping or talking in a squeaky voice. In case they are too excited become a tree.
Once you have settle all your stuff and your dogs have calmed down you may sit on the floor and pet them on their favorite spot, continue with it and practice every day. The more people that do it the better!
Bring treats and lots of them!!
Treats are the best way to get an excited dog to start sniffing. You can throw them straight in front of them (not all!) but encouraging them to search and find all those delicious treats. If you have a dog that gets really excited with visitors, it is better to begin with this exercise before arrival, this will help the dog to concentrate in an activity that is amusing and as a result will give guests time to settle as well!!
If the dog knows some behaviors like sit, down, turn, platz, then ask them to perform and praise! This can be done either at a friends house or with dogs at the dog park, if you are in need of being around a dog and do not want to get it excited too much.
Provide a safe place
Whether you are at the park or at home, if you know your dog gets really excited with people then provide them a safe place.
A safe place is somewhere the dog can settle with no disturbance. In my case I will bring my dogs into my room and close the door, turn on low classical music and give them a kong so they can be entertained and after it snooze.
Another great option is to teach them to settle in a kennel, this is an easy excursive if you start them young, still as an adult dog you can teach them to calm down inside it. This should also be placed somewhere relaxed, not necessarily in a bedroom but far away from guests.
Inside you can place different toys for the dog to chew or a king to lick, put in a soft blanket and cover it in order for it to be dark and so create the perfect atmosphere to relax.
Whether you have lots of guests or a stroll in the park, it should be of society’s interest to train their dogs and themselves on how to be around them, not every dog likes to be saluted and not every dog knows how to greet. For this reason asking the owner if the dog can be petted is far more responsible and better for both, humans and dogs themselves!