The tail starts and soon the whole body is involved; including the face and lips which are pulled back in excitement. Visitors, one of Elsa's favorite things in the world. You can almost see her gush "hiiiiiii, MY NAME IS ELSA, I'm sooooo glad you are here," when they first come in. Having a dog that ADORES people is a good problem. I always tell my clients who have dogs that are diving all over me "don't worry, this is good." Helping dogs to like people is much harder than controlling an over enthusiastic lover of the human type. Elsa is very good about not jumping on folks; that is if they don't entice her to do so. She has learned to keep her feet on the floor but now we are going to work on more, "chill." I have decided to use the cue "chill." She already knows "bed" and "place" so I wanted to differentiate the location. So "chill" it is.
I have placed a new throw rug in the spot where I want her to "chill." The location will be used for when I have people come to the front door. Other than balls and the idea of retrieving objects; people get Elsa excited. So first we will be learning where "chill" is. Elsa already has a great deal of clicker training down so when I pulled out the rug; she was on it before I could get the clicker. She always thinks that we are working on a new behavior when I bring out new or different stuff. A few clicks for touching or being on the rug and we move on.
The final goal of "chill" is to have her go to the spot, lay down and stay there until I say she can move. This is essential the "place" behavior but meaning of "chill" is that exact spot. It is not the rug itself but will be for the time being. Once she gets it I will move the rug off of the spot and expect her to still go there. Chill will be used for that spot alone; place and bed for other places that I want her to go to.
We will be working on this new control exercise over the next weeks. It will be solidified before adding the trigger of the excitement, humans. When you have a nice solid place or chill you can cue it from anywhere and your dog will go to that exact spot or given item. It is a wonderful and useful tool which I am now extending by adding a new but different cue "chill." Never underestimate what your dog can learn; they are far more intelligent than you can even imagine. This will be easy for Elsa; that is until we add the fuel, the wiggle makers, the people. But it's a good problem to have.