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Does your dog get over excited with visitors?
I feel you!
This is one of the things we still haven’t really perfected with Baloo. He’s a very excitable dog and immediately picks up the energy around him.
So, if the visitors ignore him and are very calm, he calms down very easily. But especially with my family or friends he sees on a regular basis, he just can’t contain his excitement!
However, we have found a few ways that make greetings more manageable. In this article, I’ll show you what has worked best for us. And hopefully, your dog will soon get at least a little less excited with your visitors as well.
Why Does My Dog Get Over Excited with Visitors?
It’s cute when a dog gets excited to see visitors! That is, unless your dog gets a little over excited…
Dogs who get over excited when visitors come over tend to be pretty loud and physical. Your dog may bark a lot or jump all over your guests. If you have a large dog, then this jumping could knock someone over and be dangerous.
But even small dogs should know how to greet people politely at the door.
If your dog gets over excited when you bring visitors over, here are a few reasons why that may be.
People Are Soooo Exciting!
Is your dog something of a people person? Baloo definitely belongs to that category. He also loves being the center of attention!
Visitors coming over will ramp up your dog’s excitement levels because he’s just so thrilled to have people over!
Dogs are routine-based animals. If having visitors over isn’t part of his regular routine, then he’s probably going to get pretty excited when they come over.
If the person visiting isn’t aware of the right ways to greet dogs, then they might increase your dog’s excitement by acting super happy themselves!
He Wants to Be the First to Say Hello
If your dog is racing towards the door as soon as you hear the knock or the doorbell ringing, then he’s probably trying to beat you to the punch.
Dogs like being in the middle of all the action. He might be trying to get to the door so he can say hello to your visitor right away.
And, unfortunately, your dog doesn’t understand that this isn’t the most polite thing to do!
He Wants to Protect the House from “Intruders”
Dogs are incredibly loyal animals. But why are dogs so loyal? Well, it has to do with the fact that they are pack animals, as well as the fact that dogs have been specifically bred to be loyal.
This loyalty is one of the things that we love so much about our dogs. But sometimes that loyalty can be directed in ways we don’t always appreciate.
Your dog getting over excited, barking, and jumping at visitors is one of these expressions of not-so-useful loyalty. Your dog thinks that he’s protecting his house and his pack from intruders.
This is really common behavior with most dogs. But even though it’s common, that doesn’t mean it’s something you should allow to continue. Overprotective dogs can become reactive or even aggressive if they’re not trained properly.
For more about reactivity and calming your dog, make sure to have a look at these articles:
- Why Does My Dog Guard Me?
- 9 Signs Your Dog Is Stressed – and How to Calm Him Down
- How to Calm an Overstimulated Dog
How to Stop a Dog Getting Overly Excited with Visitors
Now that you understand why your dog is getting so dang excited when you have company over, you can find ways to help him.
Here are a few tips and tricks if you’re looking for ways to help your dog settle down when you’re expecting vistors.
If your dog gets over excited with visitors, the first thing is to stay calm – and ask your visitors to do the same. In the short run, you could distract your dog with a chew toy ahead of time, or place him in a calm room while you greet guests. You might also keep him tethered for a short while.
In the long run, you might want to practice greetings and reward good, calm behavior through positive reinforcement training.
That’s a lot of tips in one go! Let’s look at them in more detail now.
If you’re looking to train your dog not to jump on you or others, or you’re just looking for some generally calmer behavior from him, then you need to look to yourself first.
Dogs are highly intuitive animals. Their main method of communication is through body language, which means they’re really good at reading ours.
If you or the visitor arriving acts excited or gets loud, then that’s just going to tell your dog that he should get more excited too.
Even things like telling your dog “No!” or yelling at him can ramp up his excitement.
Your dog doesn’t understand what you’re telling him—all he hears is the tone you’re using. And that tone might sound excited to him!
In instances like this, you have to model the right behavior for your dog. So, if you’re expecting company, stay very calm. Remember to tell your visitor that they need to stay calm too.
You may even need to ignore him completely for the first few minutes your visitor is here. The most important thing is that you’re not stimulating your dog even more than he already is.
The best way to get better at something is through practice, practice, practice! Teaching your dog to greet visitors calmly and preventing him from getting over excited is all part of training.
The best thing to do is get a friend or family member to come by to help you out. Ask your visitor not to acknowledge your dog unless he’s being calm and polite. Then get your visitor to knock or ring the doorbell.
If your dog tries to bark or jump all over your guest, then you should start the process over again. Keep repeating this until he’s acting calmer at the sound of the doorbell or knocking. Then you can take it one step further and let the visitor enter your home.
If at that point he jumps all over them, then take it from the beginning again.
Remember to train in baby steps and in short sessions to prevent your dog from getting overwhelmed. Also, try to practice as consistently as possible.
Tether Him for the First Few Minutes
If your dog is really struggling when visitors come over, then you might want to try tethering him. Grab his leash and either keep your dog close to you and away from the door, or tie him to another area if necessary.
For this tip, the main thing is to be careful that your dog is safe. It’s preferable that you’re holding onto the leash. But if that’s not possible, tie him to something secure. You should also make sure that there’s nothing he could pull down onto himself.
You may need to leave him leashed up for a few minutes until he can calm down. Once he’s settled down, you can release him.
This has worked great for us. Since Baloo is a small dog, tethering him to the table works great. This way he usually calms down within 5 minutes and then manages to keep a calmer energy.
Give Him Something to Chew or Lick
Dogs really like having something to do with their mouths. If your dog gets way too excited when visitors stop by, then giving him something that keeps his mouth busy and his attention focused is a really great idea.
Chewies and treat-stuffed Kong toys are great options. Just make sure you’re giving the treat to your dog before your visitor arrives.
Why is that?
Dogs learn best by positive reinforcement. What is positive reinforcement dog training? In short, it means rewarding your dog for behavior you want to encourage.
If your dog gets over excited when a guest comes over and you only give your dog the treat once he’s already riled up, that’s rewarding his behavior!
Timing is everything, so make sure you’re giving your dog his treat at the right time.
Give Him a Time Out If He Can’t Calm Down
Some dogs really have a hard time settling themselves down. In these situations, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving your dog a time out.
You can put your dog in another room that’s quiet and away from all the action.
Crate training your dog may also be useful for situations like these. The crate provides a confined, quiet area where your dog should know to settle down.
Not sure where to start with your dog’s crate training? Here’s how to crate train a dog easily in 13 steps.
How to deal with an over excited dog in these situations
How to Deal with an Over Excited Dog on a Walk
If you thought it was exciting having one visitor come over to your house, then imagine how exciting it must be when your dog is on a walk!
Outside, there are tons of people, dogs, and other animals out and about. This means that your dog might get overstimulated fast. He might even throw a tantrum!
Luckily, there are ways you can help him.
The main thing is to make sure he’s getting enough stimulation throughout the day. You also want to make sure that you’re rewarding and positively reinforcing calm behavior during your walks.
For more information, here’s how to deal with an over excited dog on a walk.
How to Deal with an Over Excited Dog with Other Dogs
If your dog gets a little too excited when he sees another dog, that’s not going to endear you or your dog to other owners.
If your dog is too rambunctious around other dogs, then you’ll follow basically the same tips as you would for a human visitor.
The key is practice, consistency, and patience.
See if you can work with a friend who has a generally calm and friendly dog, and work in baby steps.
It’ll take time, but with the right tools and knowledge you’ll be able to train your dog to greet other pups more politely.
While it might be cute knowing that your dog is just so thrilled to see a new person, that cuteness can get old pretty fast. And since large dogs might accidentally hurt someone by knocking them over, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is able to greet visitors properly.
Try using the above tips to help train your dog. And remember that you need to be consistent and patient with your training. You’ll also want to make sure that you celebrate all your dog’s improvements along the way!