How Can I Teach My Dog to Sit When Greeting?

Once the dog is sitting, the handler recues the “say hi.” This time, though, the handler makes the subsequent petting less exciting, by only reaching part way toward the dog, for example, without actually touching him. Again, the dog is rewarded for staying still, either in the sit or stand.

When the dog begins to understand that staying in place is what reaps rewards, the handler makes the greeting more exciting by adding in exuberant praise and distractions, such as jumping up and down, waving arms, squeaking rubber toys and other animated behaviors. This lets the dog practice staying in place in a more active situation, much like a real-life greeting.

The next step, of course, is to have other people greet your dog, starting with people in the same household or those who are most familiar to her. Once she is able to sit or stand still to greet familiar people, gradually begin introducing her to unfamiliar people. It’s essential to keep your dog leashed in case she has a lapse in her greeting behavior and jumps up while she is saying hello.

It is important to also train your dog that a sit stay will be rewarded even when you aren’t directly looking at her or when you are interacting with someone else. To do this, look away from your dog and watch her out of the corner of your eye while you talk to someone; randomly reward your dog with treats or praise as long as she remains sitting.

Be Consistent With Your Expectations

It’s essential that all family members are on the same page when it comes to reteaching your dog to greet appropriately. Make sure that everyone in your house gives your pooch attention only while she remains sitting or standing and that everyone understands that all attention should stop when she jumps. Even negative attention, such as pushing the dog down, can reinforce the jumping behavior and make it more likely to stick. Instead, be sure that in all situations, both in the home and out on walks, your dog is always asked to sit or stand still to greet and be petted, which helps proper greeting behavior become a habit for your dog.

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