You’ve welcomed a trained protection dog into your home. It’s gotten used to your family, your routines, your rhythm, and it fits in well. Your dog appears to be content and happy with its job protecting you and your family. But now, you’ll have visitors coming over. Your dog hasn’t seen these people before, and you’re not sure how it will react.
Here are five steps you can take to train your dog to respond to guestsentering your home appropriately.
Start with Basic Commands
Your trained protection dogwill come with numerous commands it learned during its time with the trainer. If you’ve been using these effectively, it should respond instantly to commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.”
These are crucial when introducing guests to your dog.
The basic commands should be used and practiced regularly, and if you’ve gotten out of practice, it’s important to retrain your dog to respond to them in an instant and with no hesitation.
This is the foundationfor training them to respond appropriately when you have guests in your home.
Train with Practice Guests
The best way to train your family protection dogto respond appropriately to guests is by training them with practice guests. This process can take some time for the dog to get used to, so you must begin well ahead of when you know you’ll have guests over.
Start with Doors
A great place to start when training dogs to respond appropriately around guests is your front door. When a guest comes to the door, you’ll needto answer it, and your dog will follow. This creates something of interest to your dog and uncertainty if they’re not trained to respond appropriately.
Start conditioning your dog to respond appropriately by training them to sit and stay at the door as you answer it. This is where ensuring your dog responds appropriately to basic commands, including “sit” and “stay” are essential.
Welcome a Practice Guest
To start training your dog, you’ll need to recruit a few family members or friends for practice runs. Once you have your recruits, complete the following steps with your dog.
- Have your friend come to the door.
- Let them knock or ring the doorbell.
- Walk calmly with your dog to the door to reduce the sense of excitement or fear, either of which can cause a dog to go into protective mode and start barking.
- Ask, “Who is it?” with your dog by your side.
- Once your friend answers, tell your dog, “Sit.”
- Give a treat when he sits.
- Open the door while your dog sits. If he breaks the sitting position, repeat the steps above.
- Once your dog sits while your guest walks into the house, praise him, pet him, and offer him a treat.
- Tell your volunteer to ignore the dog at this stage. Rewards should come from you alone.
- Repeat several times until you are confident your dog has learned the procedure.
After they’ve mastered greeting a guest with you, practice having them follow you and the guest into the house and laying down by your side. When they are training, all praise and reward should come from you, not the guest. This ensures that you have their attention, and the risk of getting distracted is minimal.
If your dog becomes distracted at any step, go back to the beginning and start again. The key is to create a sequence of events that your dog can rely on to know when you are safe, when they can remain calm, and when something is wrong.
Asking who is at the door is an important step. It lets you know who is there without opening the door. It also shows your dog that you’re in the lead. This step also comes in handy if ever you have a situation when there is someone dangerous at the door.
If your dog sees that you are not welcoming someone in, they can then go into protective mode and remain alert for any sign of trouble.
Consistency is Key
When training your pup to respond appropriately to guests, consistency is essential. Form a routine and stick to that routine 100% of the time. If you are inconsistent, you’ll take longer to train them, and they’ll simply be confused.
When you use a standard routine and training right from the beginning, any time something is off later, they’ll know there’s trouble rather than wondering what to do.
Protection Dogs are Excellent Hosts
A trained protection dog can be an excellent host when you have guests over. The key is in how you train them. Start with showing them how to act beside you at the front door, then move on to step by step instructions with a practice guest.
Consistently train them, and your dog will learn how to respond to guests every time appropriately. Are you ready to put these steps into practice?