My dog is so pleased to see me when I get home that she hurtles down the hallway and crashes into my legs. This wasn’t so bad when she was little, but she’s now quite a big, heavy dog and I seem to have permanent bruises on my shins. Is there any way I can curb her enthusiasm before coming in the door?

Kirsten Dillon advises…

The most important thing to do, first of all, is to prevent her injuring you or herself when she does this. My suggestion would be to install a pet gate or some kind of barrier somewhere between where she is sleeping and your front door. So, across the kitchen/living room or even part-way down the hall. Once you are able to put up this physical barrier, begin teaching her an alternative to throwing herself at you.

Start by coming through the front door in a set-up situation (one where you have only just left and she isn’t overly excited to see you). Ask her to sit behind the gate and throw her a tasty food treat. Once she is sitting, you can move through the gate and gently make a fuss of her, being sure not to get her too excited again. Repeat this process, until she automatically sits and waits when you enter the house. All you need to show her is that she can still have access to you and attention, she simply needs to sit instead of running into you.

Gradually increase the time you are out of the house by a few minutes, building up to going shopping or finally leaving for work. If she forgets she is supposed to be sitting to greet you, revisit your training again, taking it back a few steps, being patient as she works things out for herself.

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