The following information is intended as a guideline only and may help you when you are training your dog.
Generally speaking, a dog’s purpose in jumping up is to get our attention. The problems with jumping up usually start when we first bring our new dog home, particularly puppies. We want our dog to like us and its new home. We want it to feel happy and wanted and not miss its mum or its brothers and sisters. So when it jumps up at us we tolerate it because it seems so pleased to see us and that gives us a good feeling.
As it jumps up we make a fuss of it or play with it. The dog perceives this as a reward for jumping up. Dogs operate on the basis that if something works for them, if they get something good in return for a particular behaviour, then they will repeat that behaviour. Before too long our little puppy that endearingly jumped up at our knees has become a nuisance. Regardless of their size, their exuberance can be enough to knock small children or elderly people over with potentially disastrous consequences. If they jump up when we’re holding a hot cup of coffee we would be scalded. Jumping up has now become a problem
So what do we do to prevent this behaviour from developing or cure it now that it has established itself?
Your dog needs to learn that everything good comes to him when he has four feet on the floor and that it gets nothing whatsoever when it jumps up at you. Now here comes the bit we all find difficult! When our dog jumps up, for whatever reason we should ignore it. Don’t tell it to get off, don’t shout at it, don’t look at it, don’t touch it-give it absolutely nothing for that behaviour. Keep your arms folded across your body and turn away. If the behaviour persists then walk away. If you are indoors, leave the room and shut the door. Return after a minute or so. If he jumps up again-leave again. Your dog needs to understand that that particular behaviour gets him nothing. In fact he even loses your presence altogether-the last thing he wants!
Repeat this pattern until finally you go back to your dog and it stays on the ﬂoor. Go into the room and after about 30 seconds or so reward your dog for staying on the floor. A little praise—perhaps a treat. If it starts to jump up—out you go again.
As with all dog training, it’s not enough for just you to do it. Everyone in your household must follow the same procedure and when visitors come and they say “Oh we don’t mind him jumping up” explain that you are trying to train him and they should ignore him if he jumps up at them. You could even consider leaving a small tin of treats outside the front door for visitors to feed your dog as they come into your house. They could show the treat, ask the dog to sit and reward him. Very quickly the dog’s thought process becomes ~visitor—I sit—I get a treat.
Like all dog training this takes time, commitment and patience but perseverance will bring you a dog that is still pleased to see you, still ready for a game or lots of attention, but on your terms and with all four feet on the floor!
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