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Greeting people


TxMom
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Livi is about 7 months old now, and we still have minimal control when new people arrive on the scene. She's just so worked up about it that nothing gets her attention. Today we visited briefly with some friends and even homemade liver treats barely got a response from her. Eventually she'll settle down, but until then she's completely out of her mind with excitement. I'm glad that the issue is that she likes people rather than the other end of the spectrum, but I'm a little frustrated that I don't feel like we're getting anywhere with it.

 

1) Is this at least reasonably normal for her age? Without prior puppy experience to speak of, I'm struggling to know what I should realistically expect from her. Am I way behind on dealing with this issue, or is it just something that's going to work out with time and consistency?

 

2) What do you do? I've heard everything from "stand on the leash so she can sit but not jump," to "click and treat before she can jump and keep it up until she's over the initial excitement" (I haven't found the treat that surpasses the value of new people). I take the kids to parks and while they play I keep Livi at a reasonable distance and work with her on anything I can think of -- idea being that she can learn to focus in spite of the distant presence of other people. I'm seeing improvement there, which I hope is encouraging, but it hasn't yet translated to people close up. Are we at least on the right track?

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It's reasonably normal for her age. She'll probably get over it and you're on the right track.


And honestly? My reaction to this is to work with people who will ignore them until they behave, and prevent practicing the undesirable behavior with people who will reward. Which means she greets people who can be instructed to turn their backs on her and wait for her to have four on the floor to pet/talk to her, and otherwise not allow greeting, period where possible. Ie: Put the dog in a crate until she chills and then return her there if she bursts out.

In situations where you can't manage either. Yeah. Just shove food in her face. The big thing is just to prevent her practicing jumping up and mauling people with love and getting rewarded for it with attention. Think of it less as training and more as stopping one habit and instilling another.

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Ok, I feel better. This is like first-time parenting all over again. "Should I worry that he doesn't have teeth at six months? He's a year old and not walking -- is there something WRONG? Is he saying enough words?" and so on. I'm ok with stuff taking time, but I also don't want to be That Person with the fully grown dog with horrible manners saying, "I'm sure she'll outgrow it when she matures, the little darling."

 

I think we're on the right track, then. And on the theory that people interacting with us is just too much, I've been doing the park thing where there are people present but not engaged with us. We've been able to get closer and closer, gradually, and I'm seeing better focus from her... until someone comes over and wants to pet her, in which case she desperately tries to jump on them while I politely refuse them.

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I'll echo CptJack!

 

Kolt is nearly two and can still go a bit out of his mind. To be fair, I haven't made it a high priority. He's great until they actually start interacting with him and then he goes 0-60 in .5 seconds. Add to the mix that in SAR work he gets to kinda explode with happiness and excitement upon finding a person :P

 

 

He's great with anyone who knows enough to tell him what to do (my family and SAR friends) but random strangers? Excitement overload! So we're making it a priority because it's time.

 

I can tell you that any self control work will feed into calm greetings. "It's yer choice" ala Susan Garret, mat games ala control unleashed, playtime where you ask for a calm down right in the middle of the game (and reward by going right back to the game). These will help her in calm greetings - eventually at least!

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I have similar advice at CptJack and Maralynn.

 

A looonngg time ago (18 yrs?) I took my newly adopted rescue dog to an obedience class where one of the exercises we did was to put the dog on a sit next to us, then another person (in this case, another student sans dog) acted as a friend who was walking up to greet us. The 'friend' started at a distance where the dog could hold a stay, then started walking towards us. The micro-second that the dog's butt came off the floor, the 'friend' quickly turned around and walked away. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat..........

 

During this time, you do not say anything. i.e. don't keep telling the dog to stay or sit. Sort of like "It's your choice". The dog has to show self-control. If the dog does sit, click (if that is what you do) and treat and praise calmly.

 

To make the dog successful, in the beginning, the 'friend' will find out how close they can get without the dog getting up. After that, they should not go past that point so you have a chance to reward the dog. Then they can start passing the 'boundary point' step by step.

 

Multiple reps, multiple sessions.

 

The ultimate goal is for the 'friend' to come up and shake your hand.

 

Good Luck.

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Juno is just over 2 year old now and greetings are getting to be more pleasant/manageable now. I have to confess that I just didn't work on this enough. I think if I had done what gcv-border suggested things would have been a lot faster. My advice is to take the advice. In my opinion, recalls and greetings have to be the two most important things in dog training.

 

I have been working a lot lately at having Juno sit at a distance from me. This has been a long process but today, we were walking along and a dog and owner were approaching from the other direction. When they were about 20 feet away I said sit and to my surprise Juno just sat and waited. The meeting was a success.

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