Company Manners: Train Your Dog for Guests


Having people over can be a fraught time for people with dogs. Not only do you have to make sure the house is presentable and free of dog toy trip hazards but you have to make sure your dog is presentable and on their best company manners. Mr. N’s idea of company manners is to sit in everyone’s lap and demand petting and dragging out half the toys from his toy box to show off. For most people, it’s probably more along the lines of the dogs not begging or stealing food, jumping, or otherwise acting obnoxiously.So how do you train your dog for guests?

Company Manners: Train Your Dog for Guests

Know the Basics

Dogs should know basic manners to make them fit for company. are all valuable cues for them to know when faced with new people. If they’re not quite ready yet, you can keep them on a  or tether them to you. When that is not doable, it’s time for other management methods.

Train Your Dog For Guests
*If you buy from the Amazon links listed on this blog, it won’t cost you extra but we will get a few pennies that go towards running the blog and Mr. N’s treat allowance!


If there are people that are coming over like contractors and delivery people, Mr. N is or confined to a room. Mr. N firmly believes that everyone wants to greet him so it’s easier if the interactions are kept to a minimum. If your dog is fearful of people or too rambunctious or someone is allergic, crating them is a viable option. Exercise ahead of time and a filled or other chew will keep them occupied if they have previous training in hanging out by themselves.


Settling calmly on a mat is a valuable skill for dogs to learn. We haven’t quite gotten to the stage where Mr. N will remain on his mat when visitors come over. But once the initial greeting frenzy is over, Mr. N will calm himself by bringing out a chew and working on it while people chat. I can’t really take credit for it as it’s one of the ideas that have sprouted from his tiny busy brain. So I do my part by making sure that there are always chews available. He likes , , and these .  His is also out in the living room so he can go chill if he feels the need.

Know Your Dog’s Limits

Having company over can be a high temptation and/or high stress time for dogs. Do you know what they can handle? Mr. N is very trustworthy around food. We had a BBQ once where someone left the raw hamburger patties where he could reach them for an hour. And they remained untouched. So I don’t worry too much about watching him around food except making sure that other people aren’t slipping him tidbits. Someone offered him lettuce off her plate once and he just looked at her disdainfully. He doesn’t believe in eating vegetables).

Dogs are another story. He gets super excited around other dogs though so I make sure no one is getting too aroused and everyone is behaving themselves. When other dogs come over, I make sure the and are hidden to reduce the chances of conflict. Also because Mr. N’s things are a choking hazard for bigger dogs. It would also make him very sad if his toys were destroyed. He’s pretty gentle with them so we have dating back from when we adopted him.

With kids, it’s usually more the case that I have to supervise to make sure they don’t accidentally injure him because he is so tiny. If there are young kids visiting, either he’s with me at all times or a trustworthy adult is watching him during the period that I’m elsewhere. Little kids and dogs, especially new-to-the-dog kids should always be separated or supervised. It’s not fair to the dog or to the kids to put them in a situation where they’re in danger of getting hurt or stressed.

How do you train your dog for guests?

Train Your Dog for Guests

Positive Pet Training Blog Hop

Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier, Travels with Barley and Wag ‘n Woof Pets. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Our theme for this month is training manners for company but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. And our next hop will begin December 4th and continues for a week. The theme is Naughty & Nice. Your dog’s good points and bad points and how you’re working on improving them.





16 Responses

  1. Beth

    November 10, 2017 6:39 am

    Great tips! We never have children come to our house, so we don’t ever have to worry about that, but I like your tips for dealing with that in case we are ever in a situation where kids are in the house. Barley is not a kid dog, so she’d definitely be separated (and I’m not really a kid human, so I’d probably be hoping I could be separated, too!).

  2. The Daily Pip

    November 10, 2017 7:08 pm

    I always think knowing your dog’s limits is key in almost any situation. Ruby is pretty good except with certain men. When we have guests, she’s usually OK, but she is often reactive with repairmen. I always keep her on a leash or crated when repairmen are over – we live in an old house with lots of repairs!

  3. Jana Rade

    November 11, 2017 8:00 am

    Our guys have always been very friendly with visitors; Cookie gets overly excited. Our perfect trick is to make sure she has a toy in her mouth when greeting. For some reason, with her, not only it prevents her from excited “love nibbles” but also from jumping up. Not sure why but it works beautifully.

  4. Ruth Epstein

    November 11, 2017 11:41 am

    Great tips and Layla loves visitors so I have no problem with her, living in a studio does not allow me to really have company so am lucky with that although even when I am eating she does not beg for food as I make sure she has eaten before I eat.

  5. Jan K

    November 11, 2017 1:48 pm

    We used to have cats that insisted on being in everyone’s lap that came over. We had one lady that didn’t like cats at all , and that’s who they always gravitated towards! We’ve never really had dogs that were small enough to be lap dogs, but my sister’s beagles think they are and they’ve scared some people by suddenly jumping on their laps!

  6. Beth

    November 11, 2017 2:08 pm

    Two of our dogs are great with company, but Theo barks and charges people he doesn’t know. Now we put all the dogs in their crates before letting people in. Once our company has been here for a while, Theo realizes they aren’t dangerous,he’s fine. If we have dog visitors, I put all the toys away because Theo doesn’t share well.


    November 12, 2017 7:49 pm

    These tips are super helpful especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up too! I need to work on Sahara settling down more but I usually just have to put her in a different room so she’s not rambunctious around a bunch of people.

  8. spencerthegoldendoodle

    November 13, 2017 10:45 am

    Wonderful post! Having guest of can be very stressful on everyone especially if they are bringing their pets too for the holiday season. Exercise is the secret in our house! 🙂


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