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Dear NYC dog trainer: Calm excitement greeting

By July 10, 2013March 26th, 2015No Comments

Last article the New York Dog Nanny posed both sides of the heated debate between Manhattan dog owners and dog trainers with regards to dogs expressing excitement when they greet their owners. Today we will explore three tips that our NYC dog trainer Ryan shared with me for my city dog Max. 

Question:

Dear NYC Dog Trainer,

Here’s a background on Max and our situation at home.  Max is  a 2 year old maltese- poodle mix and he frequently uses his vocal cords to express himself both at daycare and also in our home.  We are concerned with his excitement at home after we have left for more than one hour as he brings a toy to the door and wiggles his body frantically for the first thirty seconds of when we get home. His excitement was regularly preceded by shrieking as soon as he heard one of his two owners coming down the hallway and/or as soon as he heard the key in the lock. What can we do to curb the shrieking and tone down the temporary hysteria and more importantly is this something we should be concerned about as dog owners?

Answer:

Dear Max’ owners, 

While it may seem “cute” that Max is excited and he “just can’t hide it”, what if he could manage that excitement and greet you calmly? If this is something you would be interested in; I recommend the following tips: 

1) Be in a calm and peaceful state of mind as you enter your building.  It’s easy to get wound up and be in a rush to get home and wind down after a full day in the office or field.  Dogs will mirror our behavior at times, but being zen sets the tone for entering the home environment. So go ahead, take those deep breaths and meet your NYC pup with a chill state of mind.

Keep calm for your NYC dog

2) As you put the key in the lock, go ahead a wait a couple of seconds until the shrieking has stopped.  Clearly the sounds of his beloved owner  is associated with something that is it okay to physically and verbally show excitement for which you would like to extinguish for the dog to be in a calm state throughout the greeting process.  A typical wait time would be 4-5 seconds. After that, walk calmly into the apartment and go about your business. Do not acknowledge him until he has fully calmed down.

3) Avoid eye contact, physically patting him or horsing around. These behavoirs only continue to signal to your dog that excitement greeting is a rewardable behavior.

4) Acknowledge him once he has calmed down.  Rub his belly, smile at him, and show him some affection.  Remember you are the pack leader, a dog who respects your leadership and your guidance follows you. Not the other way around.

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