Dogcharmer: Kisses don’t cause bleeding

Mona needs some hospitality training.

Happy dogs with overzealous kisses may benefit from hospitality training. —Alvan Nee

Dear Dogcharmer,

Mona is our 3-year-old Boston terrier, and jumps on people to try to kiss them, which often results in them getting slightly nipped. (She uses her teeth when she kisses.) She’s also ripped gloves off people’s hands by jumping up and grabbing. She’s drawn blood a few times, and we’re afraid this can become problematic. Any suggestions?

Anxious in Town

Dear Anxious,

I remember working with a Maltese owned by a high-powered psychiatrist in NYC. The dog was not close to being housebroken, and was totally mannerless, and she was 9 years old, and her name was Puppy. I both enjoyed and was somewhat surprised at the shrink’s surprise, when I pointed out the correlation between the name Puppy, and the fact that Puppy never grew up. I’ve found similar patterns with dogs named Baby, not to mention the patterns of aggression with dogs named Jaws, Satan, Killer, Trouble, etc.

Kisses don’t cause bleeding. Ripping gloves off people’s hands is the same “talent” as a large dog tearing off someone’s shirt. And this being America, land of litigation, you’re right about this possibly becoming “problematic.”

Mona needs to be taught to stop jumping on people, to come when called, to stay and lie down on command, and most importantly, teeth and flesh are a “no-no.” She should also be taught a “door turmoil routine,” the polite way to welcome guests. Most of these things are going to need to be taught to Mona by a pro.

However, until that time, I suggest the following when you have guests. When the bell rings and Mona is going crazy at the door, let her smell some special treats in your hand, and toss them away from the door as you let the guests in. Then call her to you and have her sit for a treat when she arrives. If this attempt at redirection away from the guests doesn’t work, tell the guests to turn to stone and ignore her until she’s more interested in the tossed treats. I’d also suggest that she’s dragging a leash attached to a harness when you know guests are coming, so you can control her physically without having to grab her. If Mona persists in annoying visitors once they’re in and settled, redirect her to an interesting toy like a Kong with some peanut butter, or an interactive toy with treats. She’ll still be the same happy Mona, but a little more well-mannered.

Good luck,
Dogcharmer Tom

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