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Hello! We have a five-month-old lab mix puppy and I'm looking for help deciding what to focus on training-wise to help him not have an overly excited conniption fit when people come over.
For background, we've had him for two months now and we're making some progress in training, especially it seems since we started clicker training a couple of weeks ago. He knows "sit" and finally sort of knows "lie down" and is finally mostly reliably asking to go outside to potty (accidents are down to every few days instead of more than once a day most days…). He's also really well-behaved in other respects, like lying down and chilling of his own accord when I'm working in the kitchen (which I calmly reward him for, as recommended in a Kikopup video), and he's really getting good at sitting nicely for attention when we come into the room (we encouraged this by ignoring him until he does and turn around if he jumps). He's even mostly stopped jumping on our kids, which is awesome. He isn't crate-trained at night and sleeps in bed with us, but has slept through the night almost from day one and has never had an accident at night. He loves his crate during the day, though, and does most of his napping and chilling in there, but we are working on closing the crate door and leaving him alone, which he doesn't love. He's nervous about walks but we've found he does much better when our kids come along, so we've been working on short walks around the block as a group.
We're obviously not super social right now, but we do (or did…) have my sister and young nieces over sometimes so the kids can play, and also sometimes just have my older niece over to give my sister a bit of a break (she also has a baby). Of course, our dog LOVES when they come over, but because he's already large (over 40 pounds) and still, you know, a puppy, we can't really have him in the same room as the four-year-old and one-year-old. We have baby gates up to separate the rooms but he absolutely loses his little doggy mind because he can't come in and play with them. We've had to stop the visits for now because he's so loud and incessant, it scares the baby and is just completely obnoxious in general and I honestly cannot handle it.
What's the best way to go about dealing with this so we can have them over for pleasant visits? I'm not sure whether I should just be by the gate and continuously reward him for being quiet and calm, or whether we should teach him to go to his crate and chill in the other room, or whether we should be working on the Relaxation Protocol I see mentioned positively so often, or…? I've had limited success being by the gate to reward him for quite and calmness, but I can't be there the whole time, and he will allow himself to be distracted by a Kong or similar intermittently but not 100%. We've also tried just ignoring him but he will literally never stop on his own, so that doesn't seem realistic for this.
Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
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