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Dealing with Jumping Up!
by Tracy Atkins
Complete Canine Training
The Woodlands, Texas
281-825-6404 www.YESPUP.com

What makes my dog jump on me the minute he sees me?
Many dogs have a tendency to jump when their humans arrive home. In fact, jumping on others is a very "doggie" behavior (if you have multiple dogs at home, you have likely seen this "greeting" behavior!) Actually, whether you have been gone all day or for two minutes, it makes no difference to your dog - he's happy to see you and jumping is how he tells you!

When he jumped up as a puppy it was cute, but now it's really annoying!
When puppies jump, they usually get one of two responses (both of which, by the way, promote his habit of jumping.) The first response for most people is to yell at and swat the dog away. The second most common response is to "love on" the dog by holding his paws, or picking him up and talking to him in a high squeaky voice ("Oh, and how was Mama's little doggie woggie today? Did Puppy miss Mommy?") Either way, the dog learns: jump up = get attention (to a dog attentiveness from his owner is attention and even if he's getting yelled at, negative attention is better than no attention!) Have you been unintentionally teaching your dog to jump?

Okay, maybe it was acceptable before, but it isn't now! How do I get him to stop jumping?
First consider when and why the dog is jumping. This will help you concentrate on the methods your dog needs most. For example, dogs love to be close to people, especially our faces. Has the dog, a social creature by nature, been locked away all day with no social interaction all day? If so, you may need to find a way to channel that excitement into a positive outlet (for example: sit and you will be petted!) But the best way to train your dog not to jump, is teach him that if he is jumping he will not get any attention.


Un-Training the Jump:
First remember that not rewarding bad behavior will do much to eliminate it. (IE: if the dog is jumping on you, stop, make no movements, look up and "ignore" him.) Many dogs will get frustrated by the non-reward and stop jumping. If you reward them the minute they stop jumping, or when they do any behavior you like, they will quickly stop their jumping habit. Reinforce the good behavior by clicker training your dog not to jump. The more you reward the dog for sitting, the more the dog will sit. Eventually, jumping will not be an issue, as the dog will want to work for reward, and not want to be ignored!

The best way to actively train your dog not to jump is to channel his energy into a behavior you do like! When you get home or let your dog out of the crate, get down low, hold their collar (for some physical control), pet them slowly and softly with long strokes and talk quietly or sing softly to them. It not only calms the dog - it calms you!

Use positive behavior shaping and ignoring first, then use these as "backup's":
Puppy Training:
Using a piece of food in your Right Hand, allow the dog to sniff at it, when he gets the sent, command "Off." If he sets back, immediately click give him the treat, if not, repeat the command and with a small amount of pressure, push the treat towards his nose and back again. If the dog backs off, click and reward, if not, try again with a firmer voice. The idea is to teach the word "Off" with good things to follow (food/gentle petting.)


Jumping on Others: Put the dog on his soft collar (a buckle style, nylon or leather collar.) Using a sturdy, 6 foot, leather or nylon leash, tie the dog to a tree or other non-movable object. (NOTE: While you may not being standing with the dog for the entire exercise, the dog should never be left totally unattended tied to a tree.)
Begin by walking towards the dog at a normal pace, when the dog jumps up, immediately stop. If the dog stops jumping, click and begin walking towards him again. If he continues to jump, take a step back. When he stops, click walk towards him again. The method is to get the dog to associate his body not jumping with your body walking towards him. If the dog begins jumping the minute he sees you, walk towards him and when you get two to three feet away, stop and begin the exercise of backing up. When the dog stops jumping and either stands or sits use a big smile click and reward. In some cases, dogs won't jump at all. (This is a good thing!)


Jumping on Children: In the smallest water pistol you can find, mix ½ white vinegar and ½ water. When the dog jumps up, squirt him in the mouth and command "off." Try not to let him see the gun. The objective is for the dog to think "Ick! When I jump up, I get a bitter taste in my mouth!" When the dog stops jumping, click and reward.


Emergency Situations: Slip your hand through the collar and push the dog back into a sit. When you feel the dog's body relax, release him and reward with gentle petting.


Attaching a Cue: Use "OFF." Avoid using "down" as it only confuses the dog. Otherwise you command "down" and the dog thinks "but I'm not jumping!" or visa versa.


DO NOT:
1. Knee him in the chest. Doing so may break ribs.
2. Step on his back paws. Doing so may break toes.
3. Squeeze his front paws. Doing so may break toes.

 

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