What do you do when every time you come home you’re greeted by paws flying at your face? Or whenever you get a visitor at your house they get absolutely mauled by that 80lb retriever that’s so excited to see them? It is a frustrating, embarrassing problem that many dog owners have to go through. What do you do?
It comes straight down to basic obedience, and lots of consistent repetition. If your dog is sitting, how is he going to be jumping up? All this means is that the first step to fixing the problem is making sure that your “SIT” command is taught and reinforced well.
Start by making sure that your dog knows what “SIT” means. This is common knowledge for most dogs. But if not, all you have to do to show them what it means is break out the treats! Make sure that you have highly desirable treats- maybe even pieces of hot dog or chicken. Put the treat right in front of their nose, and lift the treat up slowly while giving the “SIT” command. Treat and praise when the dog sits. It’s natural tendency for a dog’s rear end to go down as their nose goes up, but if they need a little guiding- push down right above the tail while luring with the treat. Repeat this process until your dog understands what the command means and starts doing it on his own.
Once your jumper has mastered the “SIT” command for treats, it’s time to reinforce it. There are many ways to reinforce a behavior; whether it is a choke chain, e-collar, or a firm vocal correction. You are teaching your dog that if they sit they get rewarded (treat or praise), but if they choose not to obey your command they get some sort of correction. Practice, Practice, Practice! Your dog has mastered “SIT”, now what?
Now you apply it to your jumping problem. Every time your dog jumps up, give him a stern “NO, SIT!” command. When he sits and calms down, then you praise and give him attention. You never want to give a jumping dog any attention or praise while jumping. If just a vocal command (“NO, SIT!”) is not proving to be sufficient, add a knee in the chest, or turn your back to him while giving your command.
He finally stopped jumping on you, now you need to make sure that he’s consistent with everyone. The way you make sure of that is by making sure everyone is consistent with him! Everyone that your dog meets needs to abide by the same training standard as you. You can even go as far as setting your dog up by having informed friends and family randomly stop over to reinforce your dog’s new behavior. If you practice and put some work into it, you will be on the road to a dog that any visitor will be happy to see because their greeting manners are so good!
By Bre Krueger Professional Dog Trainer