Dear Dr. Diane: My two-year-old Maltese is very easy to teach tricks to. But I can’t for the life of me stop her from running to the door barking and talking then jumping around driving whom ever has come to the door…nuts!
I would keep your Maltese in a closed room when you are expecting guests whenever possible. It is not fair to subject your visitors (and even strangers) to this kind of behavior.
I would also practice having friends and relatives who love you and your Maltese and who are patient ring the doorbell and pretend to visit frequently for a period of time.
Practice behavior modification with your dog – telling her with a firm “No” not to bark & jump on your guests and rewarding her verbally or by petting her or even giving her a treat every time she does not bark or jump around the guest. You may want to squirt her with water from a spray bottle or shake an aluminum can with coins to startle her and distract her from the bad behavior. Anytime she acts out by barking and carrying on around visitors during this period, act indifferent and do not give her undue or excessive attention.
Dr. Pomerance is an animal behavior specialist and an expert on topics such as deciding which puppy is best for your family, how to pick out a rescue, and on healing from the loss of a pet.
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