We sometimes see habits in other people’s dogs which leave us saying to ourselves ‘that would really annoy me.’ So if i stood back and watched how my dogs act when people come to the house, I would secretly be horrified. Many years ago I wrote a blog classifying dogs into two types when it comes to front door etiquette. If you’d like to read that blog you’ll find it here.
My guys think everyone is potentially Santa, with a giant sack of toys for them. It’s like they’re trying to take down visitors in a pincer movement. One border collie gooses from behind, another wags his entire body against the human’s legs and Jellybean, the terrier uses upwards movements to demand Santa distributes the presents as fast and furiously as possible. It’s a veritable onslaught.
I’m horrified yet I’ve never fixed it. Oh I’ve tried in a cursory way to use the event to practice ‘on your bed’ (very well known by my boys) or if the visitor is elderly or vulnerable, I will put all three dogs behind a dog gate while things cool down (certainly a practical quick fix) but I’ve not been consistent with any of it. In reality, I have more things to train which are a priority and I just don’t care enough about this occasional lapse in manners to do anything serious about it.
When I had my old German Shepherd bitch who was unpredictable and guardy around who came into the home, I had a much better trained, highly practised sequence for keeping everyone safe and happy. But these days, I’ve lapsed into allowing all three dogs make up their own rules at the front door.
We all have our own rules for our families. Mine will differ from yours and that’s ok. Unless the behaviour has the potential to cause damage or danger to dog or human then you are allowed to accept things from your dog which others may find offensive. I had a client with a spaniel who would kiss the same ears that only an hour before were dragging around in urine, mud and who knows what else at the dog field.
Clients often ask me with a rather embarrassing tone ‘is it ok if my dog……?’ and they go on to describe something I would hate my dogs to do. You know what? If it’s not contributing to other more serious behaviour problems and it’s not dangerous or risky to dog or human then it’s ok. Feel no guilt! Love your mutts! Kiss those urine stained ears. Enjoy your pooch as he uses you as furniture to reach over to lap up the dregs of your cuppa. But be warned, you may be overwhelmed by my three if you visit. And Sage, Guinness and Jellybean would like me to add ‘please bring presents.’