CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – There is nothing more annoying than your dog jumping and knocking people over when they come to your house, and begging and barking at the table for some scraps of food. Have no fear! We have solutions for you! Certified Dog Trainer Jill Haley Rose, Suzie Pederson and her dog Charlie visited the show with some puppy etiquette tips.Polite Greeting:

  • Don’t allow your dog to “answer the door”. Until your dog is better trained, have your dog in another room, behind a gate, and on a leash before opening the door.
  • Teach your dog how to sit at your side vs out in front. This will give you better control while teaching him that polite behavior is the right behavior.
  • Give your guest some dog treats and instruct your guests that they only can treat the dog if he is being polite – not lunging or jumping.
  • Stand several feet away away from your guest and ask your guest to approach the dog while you continue to praise and reward his self control. The guest should stop about 2 or 3 feet away. If the dog continues showing good self control than the guest may approach the dog and give him a treat. Repeat this sequence 5 or 6 times.
  • If the dog rushes out fast or jumps at any point, the guest should immediately walk back to where they started.
  • Once this is going well for several trials, the guest may briefly pet the dog on his chest & neck.

Pet Table Manners:

  • Spend time first installing a basic down and stay: Teach your dog how to to lie down on a verbal and hand signal. Once that is going well, install a foundational Stay using a verbal and hand signal. If you are unsure how to do this, take a group dog training class or hire a private trainer who uses positive reinforcement training.
  • Introduce the training mat: Now that your dog knows how to lie down and stay for several seconds and while you are several feet away, start practicing with a special mat or rug that becomes his special spot. You can eventually teach your dog a “Place” or “Go to your mat” verbal cue.
  • Practice near the dinner table: Send your dog to his training mat. Use your Stay cue if needed. Walk over to your dinner table. Return to your dog. Praise & reward. Repeat several times.
  • Practice sitting in the chair: Once step 3 is going great, you now need to sit at the table for 1 second, get back up, return to your dog, praise & reward. Gradually build up longer durations. Randomize the durations so the dog doesn’t know if it is 2 seconds or 30 seconds.
  • Practice with dishes/ food: Once step 4 is going well, you will practice while you are eating a sandwich. Take a bite, put the sandwich down, return to your dog, praise & reward. Build up so you can take several bites before rewarding your dog. If this level is difficult, use gates or tethers as a back up initially until your dog is doing better.
  • Practice with your whole family: Once step 5 is going well with one person, try it for a real meal with the whole family. One person will have to be the designated dog trainer for the meal, getting up at random times and praising and rewarding the dog. Use gates or tethers as a back up if needed until the dog is doing better. At each meal, reward the dog at less frequent intervals until the dog can stay on his mat for an entire meal. Then he gets to earn those scraps at the very end!