Many a dog has been described as the “perfect pet,” except that they become constant, good-natured pests when guests visit or the owners’ attentions are diverted, such as during telephone calls, reading or watching television.
If scolded or punished, these dogs react by coming back for more. Though their dog does not develop problems of aggression, submissive wetting or self-mutilation, the owners would like to curtail the pestering while preserving the pet’s generally pleasant personality and behavior.
The following 2-step process usually meets these objectives. It does not use punishment or scolding, yet curtails the pestering behavior.
1. Command the dog to Sit (praise). Down (praise). Sit (praise) and Down (praise), then release it after 4 commands. Do this until all 4 responses are performed quickly (within 5 seconds for small and medium-sized breeds, 7-8 seconds for large breeds).
2. Whenever the dog begins pestering, the target person initiates the sequence of 4 commands, as outlined. If a set of 4 commands does not calm the pet, the commands should be continued until the dog noticeably slows down in executing them, then it may be released.