Should You Ignore Your Dog When You Come Home?

When you walk through the door, your furry friend is there, tail wagging, ready to greet you with unmatched enthusiasm. But should you ignore your dog upon arrival? It’s a question that sparks debates among pet owners and trainers alike. Here, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of this approach and explore alternatives to help you make the best decision for you and your beloved canine companion.

Photo Credit: Viktoria Lavrynenko

Why Some People Recommend Ignoring Your Dog Upon Arrival:

  • Curbs Overexcitement: Ignoring your dog’s exuberant greetings is often suggested as a means to prevent them from becoming overly excited. The idea is that by not acknowledging their hyperactive behavior, you can help them learn to remain calm when you come home.
  • Teaches Calm Greetings: By withholding attention until your dog calms down, you may be inadvertently teaching them that a composed demeanor garners the attention they seek. This approach aims to reinforce the behavior of greeting calmly rather than frenetically.

Why Ignoring Might Not Be the Best Approach:

  • Can Damage Bond: Dogs thrive on social interaction and companionship. Completely ignoring them upon your return may lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, potentially damaging the bond you share with your pet.
  • Misinterprets Your Intent: Dogs may not understand why you’re ignoring them. They might interpret it as rejection or punishment, leading to confusion and distress.
  • Doesn’t Address Excitement: Simply ignoring your dog may not effectively address their excitement. Instead, it might just postpone their exuberance until the moment you finally acknowledge them.

Alternatives to Ignoring:

  • Calm and Controlled Greeting: Instead of ignoring your dog entirely, strive for a calm and controlled greeting. Wait for your dog to settle down before offering attention or affection, reinforcing the behavior of remaining composed.
  • Redirection with Training: If your dog tends to become overly excited, redirect their energy towards a positive behavior, such as sitting or offering a chew toy. Reward them for their calmness, reinforcing desirable behavior.
  • Gradual Desensitization: For dogs prone to separation anxiety or excessive excitement, practice short departures and gradually increase the duration of your absence. This can help your dog acclimate to your comings and goings, reducing their excitement upon your return.

Finding the Right Balance:

The key lies in finding a balance that suits both you and your dog. Here are some additional tips to consider:

  • Manage Excitement: If your dog becomes overly excited, provide a calm greeting and wait for them to settle down before engaging in play or affection.
  • Meet Their Needs: Ensure your dog receives an adequate amount of exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day. A tired dog is less likely to exhibit excessive excitement upon your return.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use rewards and praise to reinforce calm greetings and desired behaviors, encouraging your dog to repeat them in the future.


While completely ignoring your dog upon your arrival may not be the ideal approach for fostering a strong bond and managing their excitement, there are alternative methods to consider. Focus on calm greetings, redirection through training, and addressing your dog’s underlying needs. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your dog to greet you calmly and happily when you return home, strengthening your bond and enhancing their well-being in the process.

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