Commands build the foundation for us to communicate with our dogs. They’re the building blocks that we use, and we should use these commands as much as possible. When we tell our dogs what to do, we decrease the opportunity for them to make their own decisions, and develop unwanted habits. There’s also a large portion of our daily lives where our dogs aren’t in a command, and we want them to have good behavior. This is where we want to teach them ‘manners’. It covers a large portion of time with our companions. Take, for example, returning home. We go in and out of our homes all day long. When we add up those greetings over months and years, it’s thousands of times. Dogs typically learn to jump on us for attention when they’re young and small. It’s cute. However, after a few months, when they’re bigger, it’s not so cute. Our canine friends repeat patterns. When we develop the patterns we want, our dogs will repeat that pattern, unless we give them opportunities to change it. Start to make your dog sit when you come through the door. In the beginning, they’ll probably continue to jump because that’s what they’ve been doing. If they jump, move forward towards them instead of backwards which will move them off of you. Then, give the ‘sit’ command again. If they won’t sit, simply don’t pet them. Repeating the command again and again makes everyone excited and it doesn’t work well. If you know and expect your dog to jump on you, then you’ll have better timing and results. Plan on it, and you’ll be ready. That will make this exercise successful. When they do sit, be quick to pet them under the chin to show approval. Being quick to acknowledge them helps to make sure they’re still sitting when they’re rewarded.

Keep your approval brief. Show approval and move on. As we take the excitement away from some of these daily occurrences, we get a more relaxed dog. After getting through the door and into the home, then give them more attention. Remember, dogs repeat patterns. Whatever they get from you is what they’ll expect from guests, as well. This will allow the dog to be an important part of your pack without being the center of attention.