How to introduce your pup to visitors: 6 simple steps
January 28, 2022
Puppies can get very excited when people visit the house and may need some help to greet guests calmly and politely. Julie Maxted from The Dog-G8 Company shares her top tips on how to introduce your pup to visitors.
1. Prepare your dog in advance of visitors
To help your dog settle when new people come to visit, it’s a good idea to have a safe space where they can settle, away from the excitement.
Giving your dog a walk beforehand will help them to relax as they will have had time to burn off any excess energy. A tired dog will find it easier to switch off and relax in their safe space.
Spend time getting your dog used to being alone in their quiet place so that it’s a normal event when guests arrive. Read more about training your dog to spend time alone.
2. Use a dog gate or barrier
Training your dog and changing habits can take time. If your dog is not used to visitors to the house, they are going to need time to learn how to behave with guests. Dogs jumping up at visitors to the house is a common problem.
While you work on training your dog how to behave with visitors, it can be helpful to have a physical barrier – such as a baby gate or a door gate – in place between your dog and guests.
When your dog is calm around visitors, make sure you reward them for good behaviour.
3. Give your pup something to do
Your pup may find it hard to settle quietly with the excitement of new people coming into your home. Delicious long-lasting chews and enrichment toys like Kongs and Lickimats can help them to settle and relax.
4. Get your puppy used to the doorbell
The doorbell can be a big catalyst for an explosion of excitement or nerves for so many dogs and can trigger barking.
It can take time but if you train your pup to accept the doorbell as nothing but a boring sound, then it will pay off in the long run. You can do this by practising when nobody is coming to the door to slowly desensitise him to the novelty factor of the doorbell.
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You can get more tips on how to prevent and tackle unwanted barking in our Noisy Dogs Puppy Parenting Toolkit, available to download for just £2.79.
5. Meet outside first
The novelty of meeting someone new can be easier for your dog to process outside of the home.
With all of the smells and other novelties of being outdoors, it’s easier for your dog to disengage from the excitement of a new person having just shown up. You may want to meet for a walk or just take your dog out to the front of the house so they can enjoy a good sniff before you head back indoors with your visitor.
6. Encouraging calm
If your dog is a huge people lover, and your guests are dog fanatics then you can find yourself in the position where your dog gets overexcited.
It can be helpful to gently explain to your guests that you don’t want to encourage jumping up or leaping in laps. And use a gate and some yummy chews to give everyone some space to stay calm.
What to do if your dog is aggressive towards visitors
If your dog develops behaviour problems, like aggression, towards or fear around visitors to the house, you should seek help from a professional dog behaviourist. Make sure you find a dog behaviourist who uses positive reinforcement, which involves rewarding positive behaviour rather than punishing mistakes.
Dog behaviourists who are accredited by the Animal Behaviour and Training Council are all properly qualified dog trainers and dog behaviourists.
Julie Maxted and her husband Peter have worked in the pet industry for 20 years. Having worked as pet sitters and seeing the issue of keeping dogs and visitors safe at the front door and in the home, they launched The Dog-G8 Company. Their dog gates are designed specifically for the front door and can be extended to use as room dividers and stair gates.