The holidays mean you may have more people coming over to your house than usual. Of course, not all of your holiday guests may love your dog as much as you do. They may not appreciate the level of adoration your dog wants to convey as he runs around like a maniac, jumps, barks, and generally makes a complete nuisance of himself.
So what can you do to prevent this level of doggie mayhem? On the one hand, it’s not fair to your dog to make him spend the holidays banished outside or locked in another room, but having him knocking over the table (or the guests) is unacceptable.
The first and most important thing you can do to help your dog gain some manners is to teach your dog to sit. As I’ve written before, a dog that is sitting is a dog that is not jumping. Four on the floor is a good thing. Teaching a solid sit can be a challenge. The key is to do it often enough that the dog does it absolutely every time, even when he’s excited. After you’ve taught the dog what sit means and he does it reliably in controlled situations, try turning it into a game. When the dog is really excited or running, tell him to sit. When he does, give him a treat and praise him like he’s done the most fantastic thing ever. If you make it kind of like a kid’s "freeze" game, the dog will start to think it’s fun. Then keep doing it in increasingly challenging situations, such as around people he knows, then people he doesn’t. The goal is a sit that happens every time.
Another good thing to do is remove the excitement surrounding homecoming. So when you or anyone comes through the door, the idea is to make the event as low key as possible. Do not say hello to the dog. Completely ignore him for 20 minutes. The dog will think you’re weird and get bored. Only after he’s calmed down, can you go over, say "hi," and give him a treat for being such a good boy.
Then move up to trying this approach with other people as well. Tell your friends to completely ignore the dog until the dog chills out. I have to say that for this plan, it’s often more difficult to train the people than the dog. My mother, for example, has a terrible time following this rule, but it does help.
Finally, if the dog is being a big pest for some reason, or begging at the table, it’s helpful to have some commands that essentially mean "go away." My dogs, for example, have three levels of commands. First is "go lie down." That means "yo dog, you may find a spot of your choosing and go settle your furry self there." If the dog is unable (or unwilling) to find a spot, the next command is just "down." That means, "get flat right now, at the exact spot you are standing."
Finally, for complete nuisance moments, it’s handy to have a "go to your bed" command. My dogs all have their own beds, so if I say, "go to your bed" all four will run into the bedroom and hop in to their respective sleeping locations. They aren’t allowed to leave until I say they can.
Training is difficult around the holidays, but you can start any time. Don’t expect miracles overnight, but maybe by next holiday season Rover will be a model citizen. Or better anyway.