Dog behaviour: How to teach your dog good manners

Want to teach your dog some good manners? Get the basics of good dog behaviour down, so your pup and your friends can get along smoothly.

By Valerie Howes

Dog behaviour: How to teach your dog good manners
©iStockphoto.com/PK-Photos
Barking when the doorbell rings, jumping up to say hello, begging at the table for scraps -- does any of this sound embarrassingly familiar? Some dogs just don't know how to behave when you have guests over.

Karen Pryor Academy trainer Andre Yeu, owner of When Hounds Fly Dog Training in Toronto, shares his tips for making your pup the politest in the pack.



Dog behaviour problems and how to fix them

Here are four common types of dog behaviour you may want to break your dog of, plus Yeu's advice for fixing these problems.



1. Barking when the doorbell rings

The most common complaint Yeu hears is about dogs getting wound up and barking furiously when there's somebody at the door.

"They quickly learn that the doorbell or knocking means someone is coming in; and they find that exciting," he says. The fix: Teach Rover to go to his crate or bed and lie down calmly instead of noisily rushing to the door.

Practice with a household member or friend and have them ring the bell or knock. As soon as you hear them, send your dog to his designated spot, then offer rewards such as kibble, praise or affection for compliance. Keep a chew toy or bone near the dog's area to offer, so your pet is distracted longer there.



2. Jumping on people

Another issue: Dogs that jump on people to greet them. This often happens because owners found their little puppy cute when he jumped up, and they petted him, reinforcing the bad behaviour. But it can be intimidating to have a full-size dog say hello with all its force.

"A dog without four paws on the floor should never be rewarded," says Yeu. "Standing is OK, sitting is better, lying down is amazing." If your dog has developed this bad habit, you can manage the situation by leashing it when people arrive at the house. That way you regain control.

Tell your houseguests to ignore the dog if he jumps, even turning their shoulders away and looking to the side. Then as soon as the dog sits, they can reward him with affection or treats.

You could even keep treats outside the house for people coming in to bring with them while you're working on this. If your houseguests are in any way nervous or your dog is very big, use a baby gate to keep him from getting into people's space on their arrival.



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