Greetings from our dogs, we just love them don't we. One of the biggest issues I see when training is over exhuberant greetings which then spill over to very unwanted jumping, barking and even nipping. We give our dogs the okay or not okay to get out of control when we arrive home. When I walk through the door and my dogs are wagging, jumping, barking, spinning and nipping. But more often than not I will walk through the whirling dogs to my destination without so much as a glance.

Our dogs take the cue from us when we arrive home. If they become accustom to a huge celebration greeting filled with a four on the floor guardian who is acting more k9 like than the canines themselves then that's what you will receive as well. The more excited you get the more excited they get until your dogs will start to exhibit some unwanted behaviors. All are different, no two dogs will greet you in the same manner so that means we all need to refine our greeting accordingly.

My three are all very different in their greeting. Jessie typically grabs a bone, ball or whatever is around and happily runs around, very acceptable. Tilley is very happy, she just wags and generally displays very happy body language, but it wasn't always like this. Tilley use to be an arm grabber which is a very common happy greeting, but very unwanted by people who do not want their arm in a dogs mouth, so this behavior was put to rest. And then there is Luke, and I'm sure if you have kept up with this blog that you would guess that he has a crazy greeting.

Luke has an odd behavior of having an open mouth when he is happy. Even when he is not overly excited and just simply having a conversation with someone he loves he will often pop open that very long mouth of his. But if you pay close attention to his mouth you will see that he pulls his lips over his teeth. This behavior is not a great one because when he has his mouth open and is over excited it can be a bad combination. As he whirls around huffing and puffing, mouth hanging open he has often connected with something he shouldn't . He use to add jumping into the pot as well which has scared more than a few people in the past. Picture a 26" whirling poodle with his mouth wide open, launching himself at you.

So Luke has had to learn to control himself and as a reactive dog it is near impossible. But he is learning and he is trying. He is definitely better with the family members unless of course we have been away on a trip and then all the rules go out the window. I am well prepared before I open the door to protect myself, as I know his behavior will have regressed severely. I walk through without acknowledging but usually I have a difficult time even walking as he wraps himself around me leaping in complete and pure joy.

He seeks me out, Luke loves the whole family by the relationship we have is something very special. He will tail me for a good 20-30 min. and then he is calm enough to greet the rest of the family. The greetings our dogs give us are very good for us and good for them but they definitely need to have boundaries and rules. Again, no two are going to be alike so your behavior will be different to coincide with theirs. If you have a calm greeter, lucky you. If you have a launching maniac that quickly becomes out of control then you need to learn to ignore them until they calm down. Simply by associating your entrance into the home with a very "whatever" attitude will help.

If your dog expects a big greeting on your arrival, they will be ready to pounce. If they know you will walk in the house and right past them, they will act accordingly. So as much as we love that our dogs love us, it really doesn't help them to give them "4th of July" greetings after we return home. Keep it cool.

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