Does your dog have good manners?

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Spending some time teaching your dog to have good manners will help you and your dog to communicate properly. In this way you build peaceful and pleasant encounters, both at home and when you are out.

Your dog may be the nicest and friendliest dog in the neighbour­ hood, but not everyone is comfortable around dogs. Also not all dogs are comfortable around all other dogs or people.

Having a well mannered dog

It is surprising, how people’s perceptions of dogs change when they see a calm and well­ mannered dog. I remember, a few years ago I used to go walking in the same loca­tion every evening with two of my dogs. There was a lady, who started walking on the same route at the same time every day. Initially she was so afraid when she saw us approaching and would go as far as possible> In order to cross the street to avoid us. After a few days, she saw I had control of the dogs and she started passing us but giving a wide berth. Every day, I would smile and say ‘Hello’ until eventually one day she stopped and asked the names of the dogs. After that she started stopping and saying ‘Hello’ and even petting the dogs.


One of the top general requests from dog owners, is how to control their dog when they have guests. Some dogs are constantly attention seeking or jumping up on guests. While some other, are completely the oppo­site with dogs being fearful or territorial.


Dogs jump up for several reasons. This could be excite­ment to see you, attention seeking or because they have been conditioned that they receive a reward for doing so. Don’t encourage jumping up at any time. rather give them a command such as ‘sit’ and reward them with a pet when they follow through. If you pet your dog or even laugh when he jumps up on you he will most likely repeat the behaviour. If your dog is overexcited and can’t settle into a sit for you, then use your body language to discourage the behaviour.

Have you consider taking a dog training session?

What to do when your dog jump up on you

Space is as important to dogs as it is to people. When someone is too close and getting into your personal space, we tend to back up. The same applies to dogs. So when a dog is trying to jump up on you, turn and give the dog your back. Then use your hand to push the dog, if they contin­ue trying to jump up. Use the command ‘off’.

Some dogs will continue trying and jump up on your back. If this happens, turn and face the dog and walk forwards into the dog keeping your hands in front of you or to your side. As soon as the dog stops jumping, ask him to sit and reward him with praise and a pet.

Setting up scenarios

Condition your dog he will only receive rewards when he is calm. Set up scenarios of guests coming over. Then keep your dog in a sit stay only saying hello to guests, if you give permission to do so. You can put a lead on your dog in the training phase until he understands it is not good manners to jump up.

If your dog is fearful of guests don’t force your dog to greet guests in your home. Invite friends over and set up scenarios of giving them treats to give your dog. If your dog is barking when guests come over and can’t settle down then try training the ‘place’ or ‘bed’. This is the command where they should stay in a down until you give them permission to do other­ wise. It takes a bit of work but your dog will feel far more comfortable around guests when he is shown and rewarded for having good manners.

Train your dog how to walk nicely on a loose leash.

Walking with a dog pulling on the lead makes for a very unpleasant walking experience. It can cause injury to the owner and the dog. There is nothing more unsettling for someone who is unsure or afraid of dogs.  Than to see a dog that is pulling and straining on the end of the leash.

Be aware of others using the path or sidewalk.

If you see someone approaching who appears uncomfortable, move enough out of their way to make them feel safe to pass.

Do not allow your dog to have enough leash slack to touch or jump on other people.

Only allow your dog to approach some­one if they ask to greet your dog and only if you feel it is appropriate. Train your dog to only greet someone once they have received permission to do so from you. This not only reflects good manners, but your dog will be calmer when greeting other people.

Be selective who you allow to greet your dog.

I have seen many instances, where someone wants to greet a dog but is afraid. So, when the dog goes towards them they move their arms about, step back or even scream. This can make your dog nervous and suspicious of strangers.

Keep your dog on a lead in areas where a lead is designated.

If you are in an area where it is possible and safe to have your dog off lead, make sure you have a good recall. Even if your dog is the friendliest dog in the world, someone approaching may not feel comfortable.

Don’t allow your dog to approach other dogs without permission from the owner of the other dog.

It is important to understand proper dog­ to ­dog greetings. Dog training does not mean long and complicated training sessions. Short sessions, a couple times a day, are often enough to get great results. Don’t make excuses for your dog if it displays bad behaviours. Your dog will be far happ­ier when it knows what is expected of it.

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