How do I teach a proper greet?

Share your favorite training tips, ideas and methods with other Positively members!

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
User avatar
leslie123
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by leslie123 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:49 am

While I think its nice that Sulley absolutely loves to meet new people and other new dogs, I really dislike his over the top enthusiasm. I was hoping that as he matured (8 mos now) he would calm a bit with it but he is just getting worse and worse. We do take him out to places, but I have to admit probably not as much as we might have if we could get him to calm down. He's doing much better on his walks (as I posted on another thread) He doesn't pull and he's been good about paying attn to where the person on the other end of the lead is. That is, unless we see another dog or a person out for a walk, or the kids who get off the bus right in front of our house. Then he turns into a 10 wk old puppy. There is nothing we can do to get his focus back if the distraction is in view. We normally end up walking the other direction until the distraction is out of his site. What's worse is that even when we ask them not to, the person will almost always talk to him, or look at him and say.. "aww, how cute.. its ok, he's just excited.. i don't mind if he jumps.. etc.." We try to explain we're trying to train him to greet right and not jump as we're walking away. We haven't had much luck with people cooperating when we ask them to ignore him, fold arms and turn away from him. So we end up removing him. What is really frustrating lately is the kids can't have guests over without them being completely annoyed by Sulley. My daughter had a friend sleep over and even in the morning he was still acting up when she got up and he saw her. What he does is he begins to jump up, even before he is in reach of the person. He yaps like a little puppy and hops and play bows. It all looks really playful to me, but I'm no expert. All the while he is pulling and as you can imagine at 68 lbs now, its hard on the hands and arms. If he does get within reach of the person, he will try to mouth their hand (mouth, not nip) and then sometimes sink to the ground and roll over, or continue trying to jump up. If we're outside, he's on lead so we always take him away. If we're inside, he goes on lead or in his pen when someone comes in. My son's gf came for dinner the other night and I was able to remove him to the other room for a few seconds and slowly work him closer to say hello to her. I showed her his sit gesture and had her get him to sit before she pet him. It seemed to work a little bit, however he remained obsessed with trying to go see her all night. Ideally we'd like to teach him to greet calmly, get petted if the person wishes too, then if they stay for a bit to go chill out as he would do if it was just our family. I assume I need to somehow do this in stages but where do I start? I have a dog that, if its just me or the family around will 98% of the time sit, stay, down, come, leave it and watch me. Then we see someone and it looks like I have a dog who hasn't had one second of training. I know he can do it, he's so smart, its me who is lagging behind, so please point me in the right direction, for Sulley's sake! :lol:

User avatar
nightsrainfall
Posts: 331
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: USA

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by nightsrainfall » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:36 pm

I hope someone else responds cause this is a bit away from my knowledge... but I'll try my hand anyway and if I'm wrong hopefully someone will correct me. :)

First to me a "mature" dog is probably more like 5-8 years old. Maybe 3 to 4 years with the right temperament and proper training. To me this is because dogs are generally happy creatures and responsive, so becoming more laid back and go with the flow is later in their life span. It sounds like he's doing a great job for his age though. I'm sure you've seen this but just in case it's the puppy stages -viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1981

For me, I would try to find a friend or neighbor (or few) who would be willing to assist with greeting and specifically choose and instruct them. You could meet them on walks or have them come over. For outside greeting, I would do something where at first they ignore him and every time he gets too excited you go the opposite direction. (I'm not sure if you do clicking when exactly to do it, maybe if he's standing calm not play bowing or jumping around - but you may need to just turn away from them for awhile at first). I would work on closing the distance where as long as he remains 'calmer' he can continue in their direction. I would have them ignore him (don't look, don't face, etc) so not to have him get any excitement from them. If we can get close, then I would work on them seeing him, him being calm, *click* treat. Same for walking by, walking near, passing, and you walking towards them. I personally like dogs sitting to great, its just my preference. So I would then in another phase work on him approaching them to be petted (if that's what he wants) or played with, but before he gets petted or the toy (not thrown), I'd have him sit. I'd hope that repeating this, he'd learn that sitting not jumping gets him the desired attention he wants. Of course he could be like my parents dog where if you don't pet him, he shifts and re-sits again, and again, as if to say. "Hey look! I'm wanting to be petted... Pet me!"

This same slow level increase can be done inside the house. It may help if you give him a specific area to sit in or a line to stay behind. I know someone who used a hula hoop and if the dog wanted to greet the person at the door, they would sit or stand in that area. It kept them out of the way incase a lot of people or things were coming through. As the dog got older they no longer used the hoop for the dog knew the place. (I'm not sure how moving would work then... if they ever did). Again I would specifically ask someone (or a few people) to help so he can practice greeting and realize that it's ok to be excited but you won't be able to actually play or be petted unless you sit, wait, not jump, stand, whatever it is you decide you'd like him to do.

Outside of the people who you are working with to help his greeting, I would avoid others especially early on and then less as he improves.

On greeting another dog... I'm not so sure how to teach that just because access to other dogs and owners who may be able to help without wanting to play too may be harder...

Anyway those are my ideas. This is not quite what I know about or have personal experience though, so take them with a grain of salt.
- Anna

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
~ Roger A. Caras

User avatar
leslie123
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by leslie123 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:43 pm

Thanks so much for your input! We have not taught him to go to a specific place at the door, we need to do that! I think that will be a great first step towards visitors to the house. I totally understand what you're saying about the outside training and getting closer and closer as he shows he can handle it without so much reaction. My main problem is getting someone to help me. Its going to be pretty boring stuff and I just need to find someone who is willing to do nothing but stand there for as long as we need, and then do it on a daily basis. :lol: But I'll work on it.
He does get really excited when we take him to the vets and the staff in there always give him lots of attention. I was thinking of taking him over there during their non appt time and just walking him around outside to start and then taking him in if he can be calm. Usually the receptionist is at the desk so she would be ignoring him, but as we walk by, he would be able to see her. What do you think? Interestingly enough I just got back from a drive to a park. Its not near my house, but its not too far, about 6-7 miles. I haven't been going there, but after today I think I might. My son was with me, and we sat in the car to have lunch, Sulley was with us too. As we were sitting there, every so often people would walk by. He would get all happy, but they ignored him and after about 6 people he was (for him) pretty calm about it. He looked at them, but I could actually get him to watch me for a second too. I'm wondering if I just take him random places where people are less likely to pay attn to him, it might help? I know he's doing well for his age, as I said before I'm the one thats impatient and lagging. :D

EDIT: Thanks for the reminder about the puppy stages. I had read the first post many times but I found the article further in the thread that goes in depth about canine adolescence VERY helpful and reassuring! Helps with the 13 and 17 yo I have living here too!

User avatar
nightsrainfall
Posts: 331
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: USA

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by nightsrainfall » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:35 pm

leslie123 wrote: I'm wondering if I just take him random places where people are less likely to pay attn to him, it might help?
It probably would, I believe. I'd always be observant if it's a place you haven't gone to before - or go without him and then bring him, but you probably already do this.

While this will help reduce his excitability at each and every new person, you probably are still going to have to teach him the behavior he needs to get the attention and play he wants. (ie sitting to be petted). For that you may need another person, but until you can find someone or figure out another way - I think going to different secure places will broaden is scope a bit as well as reduce that excitability especially if he's getting ignored. (Sorry if my wording is a bit off, I'm not quite awake.)

Anyway, I hope it goes well and keeps going well. :-)
- Anna

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
~ Roger A. Caras

emmabeth
Posts: 8894
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands
Contact:

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by emmabeth » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:25 pm

He is going to take some time to mature, although I appreciate that to people who dont know him and to kids, he probably looks like a fully grown dog now - mentally he really isnt.

These big dogs DO take a lot longer to grow up and where a small breed might be mostly done by a year old, a giant breed is potentially still very much a puppy in his mind at even 3 years old, so it is early days.

I would say it ISNT the end of the world if you just avoid him meeting the children who wont or cannot do as you ask - better that, than him learning the wrong things certainly.

Then you can work with him on the other things, such as teaching him the behaviour you wnt to greet people wtih, away from people (always helps to have that crystal clear and sh!t hot first! in a variaty of locations too!), and teach him 'people are borrrrrrrrrrrrring, i am fun' in locations such as this park, where folk wont be so interested in him.

Another nifty trick you might like to try, is to buy or make him, a hi-vis neon yellow vest (and lead if poss!), from a distance these look like assistance dog wear, which often puts people off approaching and if it DOESNT its easier to say 'hes in training please ignore him' if they do approach.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

User avatar
leslie123
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by leslie123 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:05 pm

emmabeth wrote: Then you can work with him on the other things, such as teaching him the behaviour you wnt to greet people wtih, away from people (always helps to have that crystal clear and sh!t hot first! in a variaty of locations too!), and teach him 'people are borrrrrrrrrrrrring, i am fun' in locations such as this park, where folk wont be so interested in him.
I'm not sure what you mean by teaching him the behavior I want him to greet people with, away from people? Do you mean practice it at home first with family, then move to a public location? Or don't start teaching him the behavior until he is consistently paying more attention to me then other people when out?
emmabeth wrote: Another nifty trick you might like to try, is to buy or make him, a hi-vis neon yellow vest (and lead if poss!), from a distance these look like assistance dog wear, which often puts people off approaching and if it DOESNT its easier to say 'hes in training please ignore him' if they do approach.

Love this idea, going to try it for sure.

emmabeth
Posts: 8894
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands
Contact:

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by emmabeth » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:52 pm

Teach him what it is you want him to do first with just yourself, and in a variety of locations - so if you want him to sit when greeting people, make it routine and habit that he sits before any interaction, no matter where he is.

Then bring in 1 family member, 2 etc, in the particular locations he may associate with greeting people such as doorways. You can also set up walks where you will 'accidentally' bump into a family member on a walk.. if he tries to drag you towards them, about turn and go the other way until he can be calm in his approach.

Then try wtih non family members, one at a time.

In reality this wont quite be the linear process it is written down on paper, if you are pretty sure he knows how to sit in a variety of locations then theres no reason you cant work on him sitting in those locations for a family friend, if that person knows how to behave and follows your instructions, but do be sure that the basics are there first, because its so easy for us to forget how context specific dogs are, and if they didnt learn 'sit when you are in the hallway and someone is coming through the door' then the word 'sit' may well not mean 'park your butt on the ground' to the dog, even if it does mean that said elsewhere.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

User avatar
leslie123
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: How do I teach a proper greet?

Post by leslie123 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:56 pm

emmabeth wrote:Teach him what it is you want him to do first with just yourself, and in a variety of locations - so if you want him to sit when greeting people, make it routine and habit that he sits before any interaction, no matter where he is.

Then bring in 1 family member, 2 etc, in the particular locations he may associate with greeting people such as doorways. You can also set up walks where you will 'accidentally' bump into a family member on a walk.. if he tries to drag you towards them, about turn and go the other way until he can be calm in his approach.

Then try wtih non family members, one at a time.

In reality this wont quite be the linear process it is written down on paper, if you are pretty sure he knows how to sit in a variety of locations then theres no reason you cant work on him sitting in those locations for a family friend, if that person knows how to behave and follows your instructions, but do be sure that the basics are there first, because its so easy for us to forget how context specific dogs are, and if they didnt learn 'sit when you are in the hallway and someone is coming through the door' then the word 'sit' may well not mean 'park your butt on the ground' to the dog, even if it does mean that said elsewhere.
Ahh, ok I understand. That will be easy enough to incorporate on walks when at least two of us are home. We'll do it at the park too, when at least two of us are there. Up til now we've sent him some mixed messages and made mistakes by allowing him to greet a person or dog he has drug us to yapping and jumping, so we're starting from square one now. Ok, maybe a step behind square one. Let's hope we can do it better now. Thank you! I'll keep you updated.

Post Reply