How To Calm Down An Excessively Excited Dog

Dianne asked, “Is there a way to calm down an excessively excited dog? My Belgian Malinois sometimes gets overly excited when people come over (and this can happen right after an hour-long walk) or even when she is just coming into the house. I make her sit until I give her the release command before allowing her to come in, but as soon as I give the release command she goes bounding up the stairs. I don’t know how to explain it except that sometimes it’s just too much.”

How To Calm Down An Excessively Excited Dog
Copyright Creative Commons: d williams intrepid malinois

Adam replies:

I recommend using the down command instead of the sit command. And to make it even better, teach your dog a “place” command by using either a place board (rug, board, or pillow). The difference in elevation gives the dog something additional to focus on.

This is partially a breed attribute.  She will start to calm down with more training and repeated exposure to the same type of situation. The more people you have come over and you get her used to staying on the place board, the more she’ll begin to understand what’s expected of her. Age will help, too.

Remember: The way to combat an unfocused mind is with structure, structure, structure.  You create structure for your dog by creating routines.  Soon, she’ll start to immediately go to her “place” when she comes into the house– and you will keep her there until she calms herself down.