What to Do When Puppy’s Family Comes Home

Bozo has been home alone all day.

The family returns either together or one at a time and Bozo goes bananas. He barks, jumps up, and launches himself at the gate of his confinement area.

“Wait! Please wait.”
As difficult as it is not to meet his energy with your own high-pitched greeting, especially if there are kids involved, PLEASE DON”T.
Right now, today, on your very first homecoming, let’s show Bozo how we’d like him to greet us.
Trust me, this is tough! Simple, but tough to do.
I know you want to run in, and scoop him up but believe me; a little restraint here will pay off big time.
Have either kibble or tiny pieces of liver treat in your pocket (everyone else too, if there are several of you). You can keep some in your car or in a jar in the garage so you can always be ‘armed’.
Go into Bozo’s area and stand quietly. In a second or two he will stop jumping and barking very briefly. In that instant, praise and treat and proceed to greet him however you choose. Pick him up, get down on the floor with him, put on his collar & leash and take him outside (a very good idea). If several of you are returning at once, it would be very helpful if each person followed the same greeting ritual. I know it’s a lot to ask but you’ll be so pleased with the result s in a few days. It really is worth it!
You are waiting for no barking and four on the floor before you greet him.
Really tough not to match his enthusiastic greeting with your own. Really important not to.
This is step one in teaching Bozo basic good manners when greeting people.
Like all training, incorporate it into your daily activities. For example: when you let Bozo out of his crate, wait for that moment of quiet before you fuss him up.
Let’s take Bozo to his outside toilet now. Remember to praise and treat for performance.
This is a great time to spend with Bozo. If he’s ‘empty’, he could do a little exploring inside, 100% supervised, of course, or a few minutes of training… sit, down, come, using part of his daily ration of kibble. Holding and handling now is also good… touching his feet, checking his teeth, fondling his ears, touching his rear end and genitals. Playing with his squeaky toys or tug of war are also options. Remember to have lots of brief ‘time-outs’. The object here is to give Bozo some supervised freedom and social interaction after a long day alone and to ensure that you create the space for Bozo time with this newest member of your family.
At dinnertime, Bozo is, for now, back in his crate with a stuffed chewtoy.
Perhaps for variety or more interest, you might put a little cheese or peanut butter in his ‘dinner time’ chewtoy.
When the timer goes at the top of the hour, out he goes with you to his outdoor toilet. Once again, if he’s empty, exploration time can follow.
If you are a family, toileting Bozo can be assigned to different family members. It seems no one is super keen to go out in the freezing cold or pouring rain.
For now, though, pat yourself on the back for a successful Day One of Home Alone.

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  1. Oh, I wish you had been around when I first got my dog! Is it too late for me to learn?

  2. Well… it’s never too late. It will, however, take a much longer time and much patience persistence to train an older dog. If you decide it is something you want to teach, I can help!

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