My dog has a terrible habit, she jumps on everyone. She jumps on me and my company when we come through the door. She is always so excited when I come home from work and it’s almost impossible to get her to settle down. How can I get her to stop? It is starting to get very embarrassing.
Alex, via e-mail
With this type of dog behavior problem, the think to keep in mind is that dogs react to us as a direct result of the way we react to them.
Our dogs are very social and they get excited very easily, so when we come home, they jump up on us to greet us.
Next time this happens make sure you are aware of the way you interact with your jumping dog. Learn what reinforces the behavior of jumping. Whether you are petting or yelling at your dog when they jump on you, you ARE giving that behavior attention, which reinforces the behavior.
If you continue to pet or yell or whatever at your dog, the behavior will continue because you are reinforcing it. Think about it like a child having a temper tantrum. Do this instead:
- Do NOT give the behavior any attention. When you come home, simply come in the door, walk past your dog, put your things down and the dog gets absolutely no attention till the jumping stops. Then and only then can you pet the dog, BUT you still must not make a big production of it as your excitement will then have the dog jumping again. If that happens, again no attention. Practice, Practice, Practice.
- When your dog jumps up, immediately turn your back on the dog and pay no attention to the dog. Practice, Practice, Practice
- Attach a leash to your dog and have your dog in front of you with YOUR foot on the leash high enough on the leash so that when he attempts to jump he can barely get his front paws off the ground. Talk excitedly to your dog (do NOT call his name), get him excited so he will jump. When he tries to jump, your foot on the leash prevents him from jumping and the dog self corrects.
- Train your dog to sit, request a sit when guests come over. If you can get a good reliable sit stay, your dog can not jump when in a sit stay.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog, as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”
(C) Jim Burwell 2010
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