My Dog Wants to Say “Hello!” How To Handle an Overly-Friendly Dog

Two Friendly Dogs that are Playing in the Mud

A friendly dog is great, but an overly friendly dog is overwhelming. Whether you’re at home or in public, wrestling a dog that is spinning around, barking and lunging is embarrassing. Not only do you have to wrestle your dog down, but you worry about the safety in the situation.

If your dog wants to greet everyone, read more to find out how to handle an overly friendly dog.

Black Lab Service Dog

The Bad & Good News:

The bad thing about an over-friendly dog, is that they have come to believe the behavior they are displaying is acceptable and can only be corrected through training.

The good thing about an over-friendly dog, is that they have a good foundation to receive training. Their enthusiasm and happy nature does not need to be removed, just turned down a notch.

Dog owners can build foundation skills by working with a professional trainer and practicing a few helpful training tools at home.  

Happy Friendly Black Dog on Beach

The Basics:

The goal in training an overly friendly dog is to get the dog to calm down, distracting them from the situation. You can practice distracting your dog and calming him down at home with the “get it” technique.

To carry out this training technique you will need some very basic equipment including:

  • A front-clip harness
  • Front-clip harness that relieves pressure from your dog’s neck and gives you a wider range of control
  • Doggie treats

Happy Golden Retriever with Tongue Out

Start Training:

1. Begin training inside the home.

2. Dress Fido up as if he was about to go on his walk, wearing his harness and leash. This is the equipment he will be using when he is out in public, so your dog can associate the training outside the home.

3. Have a handful of treats ready in one hand and hold the leash in the other, walking slowly around the home.

4. Every couple steps drop a few treats and say, “get it.” The idea here is to put Fido’s nose to the ground on cue to distract him from excitement.

5. In the first stages of training, make the treats easy to find by placing them at your feet. As you progress, drop the treats from side to side and behind you, so the dog really has to search for his reward.

6. Mix things up and keep your pooch guessing with different flavors, or number of treat rewards. The idea being that Fido will be so concentrated on finding the treats, he won’t have time to notice anything else.

7. While your dog is searching for the treats, keep you position strong. Don’t twist or move around, simply stay in one place. In real time, this will be the point in time when you will assess the situation and decide if it will be safe to proceed.

8. Continue working with your dog inside throughout the week. Test your dog by adding another person to the room or another pet. If you find your dog is distracted by the words, “get it” and/or the treats, you are ready to go outside.

And because excited dogs are always funny (when they’re not our own), here’s a funny video that you can relate to:

Learning how to handle an overly friendly dog is not a simple task, it takes patience. If you find your dog is not responding to the, “get it” technique, don’t be discouraged.

Training a bad behavior out of your dog is not going to happen overnight. For more help, work with a dog trainer to get the best results and for additional training tips.


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