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Help! I have an Overexcited Dog with Visitors

Dachshund jumping on man who is sitting on couch

Dogs often get excited when they meet a new person. Every dog owner can relate to times when their pet has greeted his/her guests with too much enthusiasm. This seemingly fun behavior can quickly turn annoying for you as well as the visitors. Let’s take a look at why dogs get overexcited with guests, and what you can do to control them.

Why Do Dogs Jump on Guests?

Dogs often greet other animals (including other canines) with excitement. They treat humans the same way, especially the people who they consider family. Here are a few reasons why dogs get out of control while greeting visitors.

Natural Instinct 

large white dog jumping up on woman with backpack

Dogs tend to greet each other by getting close to their faces. Because humans are much taller than canines, dogs have to jump at people to reach the level of their faces.

For many years, dogs have learned to greet others by putting their faces next to each other and licking. They use the same technique with humans as it has become a part of their nature. Unless the visitor is sitting on the ground, an overexcited pup will leap at him/her to get closer to his/her face.

Visitors have a Different Scent

When guests come over to your home, they bring a plethora of different smells with them. These scents are often different from the ones your pet is used to. Consequently, these new smells are quite likely to get make your furry friend excited.

Dogs have around 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose. To put this into perspective, humans have only 6 million receptors. This makes it extremely easy for canines to pick new scents up.

Excess Energy

Beagle running through field of grass

Some dog breeds are more energetic than others and they need an outlet to expend their built-up energy. Excess energy can lead to hyperactive behaviors, such as dashing around the house. While doing so, they pose a lot of danger to many delicate things in the home.

These canines get even more excited when they see visitors. This combination of excitement and excess energy results in an overexcited dog that runs and leaps around the house. You should provide your pet with enough exercise to keep that energy within reason.

How Do I Keep My Dog Calm Around Guests?

Man petting yellow lab on couch

Your dog is your responsibility and it’s your job to control his/her inappropriate behavior with the visitors. The following is a list of things that you can do to curb the bad behavior of an overexcited dog.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Whenever you go to answer the doorbell, make sure that your dog is on a leash. It’s crucial to provide limited freedom to your pup during the training phase. Once your pet has learned not to leap at visitors, you can offer him/her more freedom.

Always keep a leash near the door so you can easily put it on your dog whenever guests come over. This will stop your overexcited dog from dashing around the house. The use of leash also allows you to control your pet through word commands. For example, you can order your canine to sit on the ground while greeting by saying “sit”. If he/she does not obey, keep holding the leash to let him/her know that you are in control.

Offer Treats

Chihuahua getting a treat

The simplest way to make your dog behave is to offer him/her treats when he/she shows good manners. Keep some treats near the door so whenever someone comes over, you always have treats at hand. Similarly, treats can also work as a distraction to keep your dog from jumping at your guests.

You may need to treat your puppy more frequently until he/she learns to behave calmly under the most exciting circumstances. Over time, your dog will start to associate treats with good behavior. However, don’t overdo it because the last thing you want is a spoiled dog. This technique can take some time so don’t be discouraged if your pet learns slowly.

Take Your Dog for a Walk

This is a tricky method that ONLY works if you know in advance that someone is coming over. The idea is all about tiring your dog (through walk or exercise) before the guests arrive. A tired dog will not cause chaos and is quite likely to prefer a nap instead of greeting visitors. This technique can be extremely beneficial if you have an active dog breed.

You can also provide an overexcited dog with puzzles and chew toys to keep him/her busy and productive. Dog puzzles are a great way of keeping your dog occupied.

Put Your Dog in a Different Room

Dogs and cats sitting in laundry room door way.

Perhaps the easiest way to keep your pup from jumping on to visitors is to keep him/her away. Although this is not a long-term solution, it is a reliable scheme if you have no other option. Your dog will bark and scratch at the door for a while but will eventually calm down. It is mostly used when you suddenly have people come over to your place, without any prior notice.

Teach Your Dog Word Commands

A good solution to this problem would be to teach your dog basic word commands, like sit and stop. It may take some time but you will get good results with consistent training. If all goes well, you will be able to conveniently control your pup when a visitor enters your house.

Every time your dog obeys you and does not ‘attack’ your guests, reward him/her with a treat. Keep repeating this until your dog learns to behave properly with visitors.

Recommended Dog Training Courses for Dogs who are Over Excited with Visitors

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

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