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Training Your Overly Friendly Dog

Dogs are naturally social animals, often forming strong bonds with humans and other animals. While a friendly dog can be a joy to have around, there is such a thing as being too social. An overly friendly dog that jumps, barks, and behaves uncontrollably at the sight of people can be challenging to manage.


Not only can this behavior be overwhelming for guests, but it can also be potentially dangerous for both the dog and others. Training a highly social dog to be well-behaved is essential for creating a harmonious environment where friendliness is balanced with control.


An overly social dog is not aggressive; rather, their excitement and desire to interact with people and other animals can lead to problematic behaviors. These dogs may jump on guests, bark excessively, or become overly excited, making it difficult to control them in social situations. While their intentions are friendly, their behavior can be overwhelming and potentially risky.


Controlled socialization is key to managing an overly social dog. It's important to teach your dog that while being friendly is good, they must also behave appropriately. Controlled socialization helps in reducing overexcitement, ensuring safety, and improving public manners. Teaching your dog to remain calm around people prevents the hyperactive behavior that can lead to jumping and excessive barking. A calm and controlled dog is less likely to accidentally hurt someone or themselves in their excitement. Well-behaved dogs are more pleasant to be around, making outings and social gatherings more enjoyable for everyone involved.


Start with basic commands such as sit, stay, and down. These commands form the foundation for controlling your dog's behavior. Practice these commands in a variety of settings to ensure your dog can obey even in stimulating environments. Gradually expose your dog to social situations while rewarding calm behavior. Start with less stimulating environments and slowly increase the level of distraction as your dog learns to remain calm. Teach your dog to greet people politely by asking guests to ignore the dog until it is sitting calmly. Reward the dog with attention and treats only when it is behaving appropriately.


Keep your dog on a leash during social interactions to give you better control and prevent the dog from jumping or running towards people. A harness can also help distribute the pressure and prevent pulling. Redirect your dog's excitement into acceptable behaviors.


For instance, when your dog starts to jump, ask for a sit and reward them for it. Consistently reinforcing calm behavior will help your dog understand what is expected. Ensure your dog gets plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation through activities such as walking, playing fetch, and puzzle toys.


Training an overly social dog requires consistency and patience. Every interaction is a learning opportunity, and consistency in your approach will help reinforce the desired behaviors. It's also important to remain patient; behavior change takes time, especially for dogs that are naturally very excitable.


A well-trained social dog can be a delightful companion. They can interact positively with people and other animals without becoming a nuisance or safety hazard. With proper training, your dog can enjoy social interactions in a controlled manner, making them more enjoyable for everyone involved. While having a social dog is wonderful, ensuring that their friendliness is balanced with good behavior is crucial. Training your dog to remain calm and controlled in social situations not only makes them a better companion but also ensures the safety and comfort of those around them. Remember, a truly social dog is one that is also under control.


Marco Magiolo is a bestselling author, trainer, and speaker. Connect with Marco on social media and subscribe to future newsletters and updates.


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