New Year visitors


Experienced Member
I am getting very frustrated with my dog. She is three years old- a lab/hound mix.
I am having some people over for New Year's. She barks like crazy when people come to our house. I try to crate her so she is not at the door barking, and then have them come in and sit and then let her out. She goes over to them and trys to jump up on them.
I have a bigger problem when they try to get up and she barks at them. Does anyone have suggestions? I feel like it is the dog's house and not ours anymore. I want my visitors to feel safe in our house and I want our house back.:msniwonder:
Debby and Snowbelle


Honored Member
Well, i'm a newbie here, so you can read this and then stand by for some other ideas!! Ha ha!
One thing you might try, is this. Get a pal to come by and help with this. This might take some time, so offer your pal dinner for their time. :msnwink: Have your pal come to your door, and knock. When Snowbelle carries all on, put her in a sit...this may take some time, when she sits, reward. Tell her stay....begin to open the door, Snowbelle will no doubt bound over to the door to see who it is. Shut the door.:dogmellow:

Start all over again. Repeat. Repeat...repeat.....Sooner or later, Snowbelle will realize, every time she heads to the door, IT CLOSES!! and she cannot find out who is there. bummer!:dogdry:
Sooner or later, Snowbelle will calm down enuff she will go along, and sit while you open the door, then let your pal in, then reward your dog, and allow your dog then to greet the pal. No jumping, just sniffs.

Be patient, do not let your dog know you are frustrated, it is only her nature to wanna see who it is. It is reeeally hard for dogs to not go over and see who it is first!

Have your pal come on in. As i type this, i can no longer read your letter, but i think you said your dog jumps on the pal when they sit down? If that is case, DO hafta stop this. :dognowink: I'm thinking you can do a few different things here.

One idea is: Your pal must stand up, turn her back on the dog. Then pal sits again, if Snowbelle jumps, repeat. When you pal finally is able to sit without being jumped on, reward. I got this idea off "It's me or the Dog" show.

Another idea, is, have Snowbelle on a leash, When Snowbelle jumps on the pal, remove Snowbelle from room pal is in, to another room, briefly, then return Snowbelle to the room the pal is in. If Snowbelle jumps again, she gets put in the bedroom again briefly. Maybe an "Aah!" when she jumps up, so she knows what is the wrong thing she is doing, but No scolding req'd. I got this advice myself about a different behaviour problem my own dog was doing from some of the really smart ones here on this site, this might work this here situation you have, too. Again, remember, it will take Snowbelle a lil while to put this all together, but she will. Give her a lil chance to figure it out. Snowbelle is relying on you to show her how to fit in with humans.

I'd throw in a verbal command, like "off" or something, when Snowbelle jumps on the pal. Maybe some will say you don't need one...

Most dogs like learning stuff and LOVE being good and pleasing their humans, so if Snowbelle does not yet know sit or lie down, might be fun to teach her those things in short sessions many times a day. Ignore messups, and treat/reward the correct response, and keep sessions super short, like 1 to 3 minutes, to start, and follow with play times, so the dog associates training as fun, and gets all his stress out afterwards by playing.

I'm a new clicker-convert, after avoiding trying them, and i can't stress how much quicker my dog "gets" stuff now that i use a clicker. Google clicker training, or maybe Snooks will see this and send you her "clicker" page that she sent me.

Also, if you are using food rewards, keep the treats super teeny weenie size, i cut up hotdogs into like almost about 1/3 of a dime size, so i can do a lotta training without getting my dog full or fat. Breakthroughs get all kindsa treats and stuff, :msnparty: but just training...keep it tiny or you get a fat dog in no time, ha ha!!!:msniwonder:

For your dog, maybe it'd be like you learning a foreign language, and you hafta be able to use this language now.
You sound a lil frustrated, which is understandable, HAVE HOPE, all the stuff you are describing is normal dog stuff, and it is totally curable!!!! but don't let Snowbelle know you are frustrated. :dognowink: She is only doing what comes natural. Once Snowbelle understands human style manners, she will be happy to please you, once someone shows her our species' manners. :dogbiggrin:

Hang in there, you might not be able to get this totally nailed by NewYear's Eve, but if your visitors are close enuff friends and doglovers, they might not mind participating in a pre-party training session, and Snowbelle can practice her sit while you open the door for each guest. (Or, maybe just ONE of your guests who won't mind taking 5 minutes to get through your door!!!) Ha, better have 'em show up a lil early so you can start your party on time!! Ha ha!!

I also do this with my dog, even when no one is there. You might wanna start doing that first, put the dog in sit, stay, and just open the door, and treat when the dog does not run out through it. My dog got that really quickly. I just kept shutting the door each time he broke his sit and tried to go out, he quickly noticed, the door shuts. :dogmellow: Sit, stay, then No other words. Just close the door the minute he stood up. Reward if he stays in a sit to the open door. A few times each day, i call Buddy over to the door, sit..stay..and reward him if he stays in a sit as i open it, he thinks this is big fun now.
I did notice it is a whole other deal when there are actual people on the other side!! :msngiggle: Ha ha!! But it is a starting point, to practice with no one there!!

It'd be ideal if you could do these two excercises (don't jump on people, and, sit while i open the door to a pal on the other side) at least daily with Snowbelle, a few times a day is even better, to keep re-inforcing the whole concept.

Have a new toy or bone or something fun for Snowbelle to do while you party. When you catch Snowbelle behaving how you want her to, like lying down calmly while you party on, reward that. :party:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!:newyear:


Experienced Member
First don't get frustrated with the dog since it's not his fault. I mean this kindly but the right consistent human guidance is the only way dogs learn. They really don't grow out of anything, they need guidance. If you have any emotion direct it back at the humans but be gentle. :dogtongue2: Bringing down the stress will bring down the energy right away. So the blame is human but the fix is too so that controllable element will change immediately if you change it. That's good news.

I'm still training my little jumpy barky dynamo Golden because not a person that walks through my door can follow directions as well as she does. I actually think of myself as training 24/7, if I allow barking sometimes but not others how can my dog get this straight? Guests come in and look into her eyes and pet her when she jumps and push her away (which is play) and talk to her. Some even entice rowdy behavior. EEK! Don't allow that situation to happen-there must be NO reward for jumpy barking. Dogs interpret any attention as attention good or bad. So NO or pushing, petting, stepping aside, shrieking, dodging can all be rewarding. This should be prevented or ignored by turning side on and not acknowledging in any way.

First you need to recondition all this with lower stress situations, like one person you can instruct and will listen for your training partner. Start with family and enlist friends one at a time if they can be trusted. First you have some pre-work to do, teaching a go to place when the bell rings, conditioning to knocks and door bells so there is no reaction, and teaching a good down and leashing during practice. The leash is not to pull on but to prevent the dog running to the person and being rewarded by interacting.

Emma Parson's has a great book Click to Calm which goes through a lot of clicker training calming training without being complex. I posted some research in a thread titled the science behind clicker and why it works so much faster--check out the treat and links. Get a clicker if you don't have one. I spend many days just a minute or so knocking on my own door and ringing the bell to take the non-thinking conditioned reaction that door=visitors=chaos=wheeee!! Both dogs know to wait at a barrier, an area rug 12 feet from the door when it opens for any reason.

I strictly instruct visitors to IGNORE the puppy unless I say so she isn't rewarded for being a freak. I usually crate her if it's someone like a repairman I don't know and can't trust to mind me. :dognowink: If she does bark I click treat for each moment of quiet, even if it's just to inhale. Stand by the crate at first and build up distance and time. I also put her in the crate with a YUMMY kong or bully stick so she'll have fun in there not frustration.

Doing all this pre-work in a lower stress setting than a holiday with loads of people will give you the success. Making sure the dog is exercised and tired will help a great deal. Consider doggie day care, since it REALLY wears them out before visitors. Tired dogs are more apt to go to spot and stay and if periodically rewarded and rewarded for being polite. Don't give him attention only when he's freaking, notice when he just plonks down or grabs a toy and reward that handsomely. Give him kongs or safe food toys like buster cubes or tug jugs to occupy him.

From his POV a whole pack of new exciting playmates just descended on the house and started a party disrupting his world and he's rushed to his crate. He's probably frustrated or over the top excited. Preparing him and planning what you will do is key. After all he'll mostly be ignored if people are conversing so he'll demand attention like a 3-5 yo child would or someone will rev him up for fun. Dogs are essentially 3-5 yo child level reasoners.

He's really acting as he's been trained and responding according to his experience and the emotional response you guide him into to deal with a world beyond comprehension unless he's been prepared. Esp at 3 years old he's just come into adulthood so he's a little different and not sure what to do. The good part is at 3yo he'll learn much faster with patient, positive, gentle, but consistent guidance from you.

I'm still working on my 1yo but my 4yo turned on her adult switch at 3 and it's been really nice. There is hope, just a little work involved. :dogbiggrin: Labs are working dogs and need at LEAST 2 hours of good hard exercise every day or they will be hyper period. Just like my Goldens, I can tell when they NEED some exercise and to be out of the yard.

Best of luck, and I did mean it kindly with all intent to help. :dogblush: I've been there too.


Experienced Member
I see Tigerlily posted while I was plogging through with some excellent advice too. Removing a dog on leash to a quiet place or a down is great. They learn quickly being a nut gets them calmly lead out of the room for a moment until calm. Lots of other great ideas in that post too!!


Experienced Member
Thank you for all your ideas. Belle is a reactive dog so exercise is hard to get.
I try to walk her an 1 or 2 a day. sometimes I play with her out in the yard.
Even if we go to a fenced in place she will just sniff around. Debby and Belle


Honored Member
Lotsa dogs won't do much without some stimulation to help them get into actual excercise mode....mine does, somewhat, he actually throws his own toys up in the air and catches them by hisself. but he doesn't do this for great lengths of time........mine will end up sniffing around a lot too unless he gets stoked into running for reason.

Well, does Belle fetch? That wears a dog out. Mine is not wild about fetch, for a few times, great, after that, sometimes he gets bored of fetch, but it's growing on him. He likes to chase me if i run around, he gets hisself all stoked up and starts doing laps around the yard all by himself then.

Besides the walks, i try to always get Buddy to RUN at his top speed, which is breathtakingly fast to behold,:surprised: AT LEAST once a day, which is sooo not enough, but in the winter, it is harder to do...we get a ton of snow :laughsnow:most winters. Someties the snow is covered with hard crusts that i worry Buddy's feet going in and out of will twist his ankle, so maybe on those days we skip the running...

and we've had some ridiculous ice, too, even solid hard ice all over the the hook!! buddy looks like that scene in Bambi!!:msngiggle: but i worry a lot about injuries, our last dog got a bad leg, so some winter days all you can do is walking, unless you get a doggie day care, which are wonderful wear outs for dogs!! But you do the best you can do.

Sometimes if the weather is super bad, and outdoors, besides our walks, all we can do is play in the yard, when Buddy get distracted smelling/tracking stuff, i move away to the far side of our big yard, and then call him in really excited way, clapping my hands onto my thighs and all, see, which makes him BOUND to me at top speed, is cute, he does one lap around me to slow his speed down and then slides into my legs like a baseball player and comes to a sliding sit leaning against me, he kinda looks like he is laffin when he does this, cracks me up eveyr time.....but anyway, this done over and over, does get him running pretty darn fast, and teaches recall, too. (if i just call him normal style, he mostly trots to me, not get him to RUN i gotta be exciting).:msnohyes:

On lousy days, teaching my Buddy tricks/training him helps wear him out,:dogsleep: bonds us two up closer,:msnheart: and makes life easier if Buddy knows how to act. :msngrin: Debby, even if you aren't being able to work Belle for 2 hours a day,--- Go on ahead and start showing Belle how to act to an open door, and then have your pal help you help your Belle learn how humans want dogs to act for arriving visitors. You can do this!!!and once the lightbulb goes on in Belle's eyes, "Ohhh, THAT'S what mom wants, ah ha!" it is way easier. You'll be happier, your dog will be proud of you are so pleased, iz a good thing.

Even if you wear your dog out, Belle STILL won't understand human manners, so go on ahead and teach Belle: this is how we do it.

Just like when you housetrained Belle, this is a good investment in both your and Belle's happiness to show her what you would like done when people arrive. She can learn this. She can!!

but Yeah, you do hafta excercize 'em at least once each day, this almost meets the bare minimum, most dogs need more. It doesn't take that much time, is better to spend an 1 hour wearing 'em out, than 5 hours relacing your sofa stuffing!! (even half hour is better than zero, so don't give up here, like, don't stop cuz "I don't have 2 hours today" well, some days you just do the best you can, is better than nothing) but Debby, you can go on ahead and practice having Belle act right :dogsmile:for visitors anyway. Belle is probably gonna pick it up with consistancy. Betcha!

Go on and start showing her!!:msnohyes: She'll want to please you. She just doesn't know what to do, doesn't know how to behave yet is all! She'll get it, give her a chance, you'll see!!:msnwink:

Two hours is ideal, and should be strived for, but you gotta do something every day!!

The "classroom" section of this website is awesome resource for training stuff, just wonderful.:msnohyes:


Experienced Member
For me, this is relatively straightforward. If the dog barks, you exclude it by calmly moving it to another room for a minute. No words are spoken to the dog, as negative attention is still attention and thus it's still rewarding.

After a minute, you return the dog. If she is quiet for a few minutes then great, reward her in a low-key manner (you don't want to get her excited) and carry on your business. Don't reward her straight away as then the return to the room becomes the cue for the reward and she'll be smart enough to work out that barking gets her taken out so she can return again to get the reward.

The second she starts to bark again (if she does) then lead her to the other room again, and add another minute. Keep on repeating. She will link the two things together, they always do. Across a great deal of the animal kingdom, exlusion is often used as a very powerful message, as it means the excluded party has to find its own food, affection, and security. Of course, it won't be as harsh as that in your case, but the dog will get the idea.


Experienced Member
Reactive maybe because she's not socialized well enough by exposure to her exciters and reconditioned to think of them as good things? I've spent the last year in a new home where we have a deck type fence in the mountains and deer, elk, coyote, fox etc. I had to reframe the way my dogs thought of these things by exposure and reconditioning. It involves work and consistency. I rewarded puppy yesterday for a herd of does in my yard-where she was watching but I caught her NOT barking. Click treat. She mostly now watches silently or comes to tell me I saw something. Now deer mean come to me or a reward for quiet so her emotional response has been rewired. My older dog can be very fear reactive but she's been/being trained around it. It does work.

I know it's a catch 22 can't exercise because reactive. But she IS reactive mainly because of no exercise and training. So doing nothing will make it worse. Removing calmly to another room may take 20+ times but it works. You just have to do the work. By New Year you can knock on the door yourself or with a buddy and ring the bell and with fabulous treats and a very comfy bed a go to spot can start to form. Yes with a clicker and 2 days you can make progress. Get kongs and freeze a supply of yummy ones, buy buster cubes and tug jugs. Teaching them tricks does tire them out and is my savior on snowy days, dogs must be exercised menally and physically or you won't like their boredom answers.

Sorry but you're now allowed to say your frustrated then do nothing. :) New year's doggie resolution. Do something/anything and you'll feel empowered.

I didn't have to teach my first Golden to fetch he did it the first time i rolled a ball in front of his nose. The others I did teach. So I found what excited them or made interacting with me more exciting than any distractions in the yard. A squeaky toy, meaty yummy food, tug play, running from my dog, making high pitched noise. What does your dog like to do that always brings his ears up??? And if you don't like using treats consider the results-i used to not like them either but the results are hard to argue with

Get a head harness so you can control her kindly and get out there with food and a clicker and walk that dog. There are 4-5 great videos about how to desensitize to a head harness at including a wonderful one my Jean Donaldson. I am partially disabled and my 52 lb puppy can pull 3-4 times her weight, so more than me. The head harness works and I feel safe walking her with it. The attachment point is under the chin so simple physics allows you go gently steer your dog’s nose therefore his attention & direction. Dog reacts you turn 180 degrees and click treat for following and any calm behavior. She'll get it. Don't just buy and put one on watch the videos on how to fit them and get the dog used to it. It feels weird so a positive association is absolutely needed and easy to do.

After the new year resolve to spend one training class or just 4-6 hours to your dog. This is much less than the hours you spend chasing and correcting in a year eh? It may all sound less daunting after the holiday crush is off. Unless you change something though it won't change. Imagine you not ever being able to leave the house and how nuts you would be. Your dog's level of frustration must be 10 times yours and she can't fix it.

Check out Click to Calm-quick read and check out some local POSITIVE trainers. You bought a working dog bred to run fields and hunt and retrieve. Unless you meet his needs you'll never find out what a terrific dog he surely is.

Some quick free advice at the same ARBI sight. Changing Emotions in a Fearful dog (your reactive can be applied), Using manners minder for barking at door, managing jumping up behavior in standard poodle, loose leash walking tips, conditioning an emotional response (for the gentle leader head harness), tips on handling a dog reactive dog, working on leash aggression, go down the list. My dogs prefer a Halti to a Gentle Leader head harness but both work.

Also Karen Pryor's site. Jumping on visitors
Jumping up
doorbell calm
for more go to an see managing unwanted behavior at right.

also be sure and check the links at bottom including raising a great family dog. this is a great site and great page for you. so have heart. do a few things every day and it may only take 3 minutes but in that time turn arounds are possible. just remember it's your job not your dogs fault. please do ask back for help with any specifics. X fingers for u!

I say all this because you seem a little defeated so I mean to inspire. So please don't take it as criticism. You can do it!! Just do something and you'll both enjoy it.

oh and kong recipes for freezing my favorite

and these bully sticks last a long time and are much safer (less choke hazard) and less chemicals than a rawhide. They have a slight odor to me but on a wood floor or deck it's fine, you judge.

You have some bandaids for quick fixes here, some medium and long term goals from several folks. They all lead down one path. Promise loads more of advice in the pike for specific things later free for the asking. Good luck. :dogbiggrin:


Honored Member
:whs: Collie Man!

Even with excercise, Belle still won't know the rules Debby wants him to know. :dognowink: Debby has to show her/teach her the human style of manners.

I do not treat, though, i figure being returned to the room IS the gave me this idea, worked great for that problem Buddy was having. Didn't take him long to figure out growling got him removed...


Experienced Member
tigerlily46514;14279 said:
I do not treat, though, i figure being returned to the room IS the gave me this idea, worked great for that problem Buddy was having. Didn't take him long to figure out growling got him removed...
Glad it is working for you. As for the treat/no treat issue, it's all down to personal choice. If it works for you and your dog, then it works. It's that simple. There are no right or wrong methods per se, only right or wrong for a particular dog.


Honored Member
:newyear: GOOD LUCK TONITE AT YOUR PARTY, TUGIDq64!!! Hope you and Belle BOTH have a good time! HOpe you had enuff time to help Belle figure out not to jump on people, by removing her away each time she tried, and hope Belle is beginning to get the idea she doesn't need to jump on people coming in your door, either!!! and i hope you have some new or funstuff for Belle to play with tonite!:party:

Yeah, CollieMan, that tip you gave me-- it is really helping us, Buddy did figure it right out: if he growled at other dogs too near me= he gets removed briefly, was great advice. Plus, for that particular problem, you and Snooks, and maybe some others, too, thought it was 'resource' protecting and food would've added to Buddy wanting to protect the food, which made sense to me. So for THAT particular problem that Buddy and me had, no treats was a good advice. THANKS!!!!