Dogs with Big Feelings often do best with short and sweet greetings to start. We use “Greet, Treat, Repeat!” to help them greet appropriately while reducing stress and encouraging them to check back in with you after some sniffing.

How to Train It

Stand with your dog on leash where they can see your guest. Let your guest know what your plan is. (Can they pet? Should they not touch?)

Ask your dog, “Do you want to go say hi? Sit.”. (You should not have any treats in your hands. We want them to know this is to say hi, not to get food!)

If your dog sits, say “Okay, go say hi!” If they don’t sit, that’s a clue they either don’t want to say hi OR that they’re too excited to say hi yet. Walk your dog away and let them “be a dog” or take them back to their mat.

If your dog is greeting, allow them about 5 seconds to sniff and say hello.

Call your dog back to you and reward them. As they are successful, you can let them greet for longer and longer. Between repetitions, ask yourself whether your dog is ready to greet again or if they need a break. If they need a break, go back to your seat/mat, or if you are on a walk, carry on with your walk!

You should also call your dog any time you see them start to get excessively excited and/or stressed.