Puppy Diaries # 9 Mastering the puppy-man ideal social interaction

Dear Diary,

It's already the ninth month, and Sommer is growing up. She still has limitless energy, but she is less hyperactive than a few months ago. She begins to look less like a little puppy and looks more like a reckless teenager with awkwardly big legs that are too big for her body. She runs very fast and loves to run around the yard, easily chasing our boys, and then barking for joy when she catches them. Problems with minor training are mainly related to the rear-view mirror, although occasional attacks of diarrhea are always possible, and I am still very friendly with our local carpet cleaner. Sommer's face is so expressive at this age! Her eyes are bright, and she looks at me in a direction, trying to please. In our house she has a routine and she understands the rules: you don’t need to jump in a good chair, ring the doorbell, go out, do not surf and so on. I think you could say that she trusts us now, and I trust her (most of the time, although after the episode of chewing on Advil, I try very carefully to keep her away from things that may cause her trouble). But when does the doorbell ring? This is when all bets on workouts are turned off.

We have an active household, in which two sons, friends, family and sports chairs, music teachers, lawn masters and experts regularly come to the house. All this makes the house happy, and Sommer loves to welcome guests. But do guests like when Sommer greets them? In the beginning, the answer was definitely "no." And I can't say I blame them. I do not like a dog that jumps on me when I go to someone's house, and, being a small dog, Sommer seems to be particularly prone to jumping. It is in her nature to want to rise to the human level. She is also prone to excited barking, another habit that turned greetings at the door into a real challenge. This was one of the things that worried me most about the presence of a dog, so we decided to hire one of the trainers who conducted the Sommer puppies group training lessons to come to our home to diagnose the problem and assign a solution.

The trainer has perfectly demonstrated that door greetings are indeed one of the biggest problems. She advised to use the method in which we put the dog bed next to the door, but not next to the door, and said “go to bed” when the doorbell rang. I had to stand next to the bed and treat Sommer while she stayed on the bed. The idea was for the guest to come in and then pass by the bed and greet Sommer, or not greet Sommer — everything the guest wanted. Whether it was my lack of proper execution or just a splash of a Sommer puppy, although we worked on these months, both in real-life scenarios and in trials where the boys went outside and rang the bell, Sommer never did it. She “went to bed”, but as soon as I gave her one small treat, she grabbed him and ran out of bed to jump onto the person at the door. To answer the door was to work with two people, as I was stuck, calling for “go to bed” and standing by the dog’s bed, while one of the boys had to answer the doorbell — and they were not always at home to play this the role, I thought Sommer might catch on and stay in bed while I walked to the door, but, alas, the promise of a new person to welcome was too overwhelming and actually seemed more tempting than any treat I could offer.

We returned to the “sound” collar (note: we will only use an unstressed collar). One day, visiting my parents in their home, Sommer came to herself with excitement when she saw my parents every morning, as if she had never seen them before. It turned into a great opportunity to put on her pip collar and teach her not to jump greetings. the ruleWe diligently showed her that when she bounced on them in an excited greeting, this would lead to a “beep”. When she stayed, with all four paws on the ground, my parents took care to give her a lot of pets and “Good girl” praise. The idea seemed to come to mind. After returning home, the only trick to continue this method successfully was to make sure she was in a collar when guests came to the house, or in the case of an unexpected visitor, that the collar was ready at the door so that I could quickly put on her.

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