No One Likes a Jumping Dog

No one likes a jumping dog

Let's face it, no one likes a jumping dog. Big or small, the only time it's pretty cute and semi-welcomed is when there is an adorable puppy (and even then, it is not okay). If you were one of the lucky ones who decided to nip the behavior and reinforce that four paws on the ground means good things for your dog from the start, I praise you. If you were not one of those people, you may be frustrated and still dealing with jumping.

If you have been doing the same thing over and over again and your dog still jumps...guess is not working. While consistency is certainly a foundation to getting your dog not to jump (yes, that means don't let them jump on you) you also need to work with your dog to help them succeed. There are many components you need to ensure you have under control before you throw in the ultimate distraction of high pitched and excited company walking through your door. 

My favorite: teaching your dog value for a specific place and remaining there until released

Yes, you are correct it does not happen overnight. But it is possible and it does work.

In the scenario above, there is short distance and little distractions. The dog understands and expects the sequence of events.

More importantly, through shaping, the dog has already learned on his own (with my help) that a mat, bed, or cot is valuable and I will pay for that behavior through food or toy play. 

Once you are able to teach value for a certain place (the end behavior in this case is driving to the bed, turning around, offering a down, and remaining there until released) you are ready to start proofing. In other words, you are ready to start testing where your dog is at and how strong the behavior is. But, remember, we want the dog to have fun and succeed. Drills should be kept short and at a challenge level in which your dog is winning. 


What are some of my choices?

First.....what you do WANT your dog to do?  Do you want your dog going up to company? Do you want them ignoring company until they are cued to go sniff? Do you want them to interact but not jump? Once YOU know what you want you can figure out where to begin. The higher the standard for the behavior, the more maintenance and training it will take. 

Crate Your Dog - what a concept right...crating your dog. And...guess what...sometimes in remembering we should always be advocating for our dog, this IS the best option. If a dog is fearful, reactive, shy, or disturbed with company (because as you know company has no idea how to properly interact with our dog and usually takes poor direction from us) sometimes it is best to remove them from a situation so it does not reinforce other behaviors.

You can also redirect your dog after the fact, but then you have not managed the behavior. People ask "well if I crate my dog won't they just jump all over the company when they get let out?" And yeah it is certainly possible...HOWEVER....the initial excitement and human emotion of people seeing each other has died down, and once everyone starts to settle things should become less exciting for your dog too. If not, then maybe you need also another way to manage your dog. 

Ignore the Behavior - certainly some of these suggestions can go hand and hand with each other, but sometimes ignoring the behavior entirely is all we need. This includes not making directly eye contact or speaking to the dog. It may include turning our backs (some dogs will still jump) or walking away entirely. Problem solve with your dog and help them learn!

Manage on Leash - Of course you can leash your dog (which most people think is real lame because they don't want to deal with it) but it is a tool that will allow you to keep some control of your dog. Of course if you do not have control, you should probably work leash work without distractions before throwing your dog into the ultimate scenario of excited company. The leash should not be used necessarily as a correction tool, but a tool to keep your dog at your side. Your dog should not be greeted or addressed until they are calm (sitting would be great). If you or your company does not have the patience for this, you probably need to look at doing something else - or set up a training scenario so your dog can start learning.

Manage Off Leash with Strong Verbals and Reinforcement - if your dog has a strong sit/down and STAY, then perhaps all you need is a bit of reinforcement while company walks in the door! You could also try throwing treats on the ground in a direction away from company to redirect your dog (their head is down looking for treats)...however, when they finish eating if they are not under control and do not listen to your cues...they will begin jumping. 

Send Your Dog (off leash) to a Mat or Bed to Hold Position - ah, yes, my favorite! While this certainly takes practice and some understanding for a sit, down, and is a GREAT option where your dog is being reinforced for a choice they make! If they are breaking position perhaps you need more proofing or higher reinforcement.

Reinforce Your Dogs Attention Down, Not Up - if you are making an effort to manage your dog off leash (you need to decide what is best), perhaps scattering treats to keep your dog occupied may be helpful. You can try pairing a few options together...but with consistency and CLEAR communication you should be able to tackle the jumping in no time.