Dear Miss Behavin’: I’m looking forward to having my friends over again once the shelter-in-place orders are lifted and I’m sure my exuberant young dog, who has a history of rowdy greetings, is on the same boat. How can I curb her enthusiasm the next time we have visitors?

Kudos to you for thinking ahead! Now is an excellent time to work on training your dog so that she is a well-behaved hostess when your next visitors come over. A great starting point a “place” or “go to mat” cue, which will allow you send her to a designated spot (like a bed, mat, or crate) at any given time, where she is to stay until you release her. This is particularly helpful when guests are coming and going.

To start teaching this, lure her into place with a treat while giving the “place” cue, and deliver the treat once all four feet are on the mat or blanket. This will simply help her associate the place itself with the cue of your choosing. The next phase is for this spot to become the go-to place for working on chews, like bully sticks or stuffed Kongs, in order to encourage her to relax and hang out there for a longer periods of time.

Continue practicing sending her to her place on cue, and up the ante by asking her to stay in place while you open the front door as if letting in guests. With enough practice, she’ll know the drill by the time your real guests arrive and you’ll be able to focus on greeting your friends without worrying about your pooch!

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