Your dog loves you and wants as much attention from you as possible. The reality is that you are the world to your dog. Often when your dog is sitting quietly, he is easily forgotten. When he is walking beside you, you are probably thinking about other things, such as work, dinner, the car, chores you need to accomplish, or anything but your loyal companion walking next to you. Sometimes your dog receives your full attention only when he jumps up on you. When your dog jumps up on you, then you look at him, physically react in astonishment, maybe shout at him, and gently push him down until he is down on the floor. Then, you ignore him again, and make a mental note to teach your dog not to jump up onto you. What do you expect? He wants your attention. Teaching your dog not to jump is essentially teaching him that attention will come only if he has all four paws planted firmly on the ground.
It is important not to punish your dog when teaching him not to jump up on you and others. Do not shout “no!” or “bad!” Do not knee your dog or push him down. The best way to handle the jumping is to turn your back and ignore your dog. Remember, since he loves you very much, your dog or puppy may take any physical contact from you as a positive sign. You do not want to send mixed signals; instead, you want to practice complete ignoring that consists of no looking or audio. If you do use a vocal command, do not say, “Off,” instead use “Sit,” which your dog has probably already learned. Try not to use a command, and instead proceed with ignoring.
For jumping practice, it would be ideal if you could gather a group of people together who will participate in helping you train your dog that jumping is a no-no. You want to train your dog to understand that he will only get attention if he is on the ground. If groups of people are not available, then teach him to remain grounded using his family. When your dog encounters other people, use a strong “sit stay” command to keep all four paws planted firmly on the ground. I covered “sit stay” above, and now you understand how useful and versatile this command can be.
No Jumping On the Family
This is the easiest part, because the family and frequent visitors have more chances to help your dog or puppy to learn. When you come in from outside and your dog starts jumping up, say, “oops!” or “whoa,” and immediately leave through the same door. Wait a few seconds after leaving and then do it again. When your dog finally stops jumping upon you as you enter, give him a lot of attention. Ask the rest of the family to follow the same protocol when they come into the house. If you find that he is jumping up at other times as well, like when you sing karaoke, walking down the hallway, or are cooking at the barbeque, just ignore your dog by turning your back and put energy into giving him attention when he is sitting.
No Jumping on Others
Prevention is of utmost importance and the primary focus in this exercise, especially with larger dogs. You can prevent your dog from jumping by using a leash, a tieback, crate, or gate. Until you have had enough practice and your dog knows what you want him to do, you really should use one of these methods to prevent your dog from hurting someone or getting an inadvertent petting reward for jumping. To train, you will need to go out and solicit some dog training volunteers and infrequent visitors to help.
– Make what is called a tieback, which is a leash attached to something sturdy, within sight of the doorway but not blocking the entrance keeping your dog a couple of feet or about a meter away from the doorway. Keep this there for a few months during the training period until your dog is not accosting you or visitors. When the guest arrives, hook your dog to the secure leash and then let the guest in.
Guests Who Want to Help Train Your Dog (Thank you in advance)
All of these training sessions may take many sessions to complete, so remain patient and diligent in training and prevention until your dog complies with not jumping on people.
– Begin at home, and when a guest comes in through the door, and the dog jumps up, they are to say “oops” or “whoa,” and leave immediately. Practice this with at least five or six different visitors, each making multiple entrances during the same visit. If your helpers are jumped, have them completely ignore your dog by not making any eye contact, physical or vocal actions other than the initial vocal word towards your dog, then have them turn their backs and immediately leave.
– When you go out onto the streets, have your dog leashed. Next, have your guest helper approach your dog. If he strains against the leash or jumps have the guest turn their back and walk away. When your dog calms himself and sits, have the guest approach again. Repeat this until the guest can approach, pet and give attention to your dog without your dog jumping up. Have the volunteer repeat this at least five to seven times. Remember to go slowly and let your dog have breaks. Keep the sessions in the 5-7 minute range. For some dogs, this type of training can get frustrating. Eventually, your dog will understand that his jumping equals being ignored.
– Use the tie-back that you have placed near the door. Once your dog is calm, the visitor can greet your dog if they wish. If the guest does not wish to greet your dog, give your dog a treat to calm his behavior. If he barks, send your dog to his crate or the gated time out area. The goal is that you always greet your guests first, not your dog. Afterward, your guests have the option to greet or not greet, instead of your dog always rushing in to greet every guest. If he is able to greet guests calmly while tied back, then he may be released. At first hold the leash to see how your dog reacts, then if he is calm release him.
A Caveat to These Two Methods
1) For those who are not volunteers to help teach your dog and are at your home visiting, there is another method. Keep treats by the door, and as you walk in throw them seven to nine feet (2.1 – 2.7 meters) away from you. Continue doing this until your dog begins to anticipate this. Once your dog is anticipating treats every time someone comes through the door it will keep him from accosting you or visitors that walk through the doorway. After your dog eats his treat and he has calmed down a bit, ask him to sit, and then give him some good attention.
2) Teach your dog that a hand signal such as grabbing your left shoulder means the same as the command “sit.” By combining the word “sit” with a hand on your left shoulder, he will learn this. If you want to use another physical cue, you can substitute your own gesture here, such as holding your left wrist or ear.
Ask the guests that have volunteered to help train your dog to place their right hand on their left shoulders and wait until your dog sits before they pet him or give any attention. Training people that meet your dog will help both you and your dog in preventing unwanted excitement and jumping up. Having your dog sit before he can let loose with jumps is proactive jumping prevention.
~ Paws On – Paws Off ~