Good Dog: Help! My Dog Jumps Too Much!
Teach your dog the right way to welcome guests.
by Johanna Teresi
Is your dog so happy to see people that he jumps and licks them in the face? Of course your guests like a friendly hello, but some probably think this is too much! What can you do about it?
Teach your dog to sit instead of jump. First, put your dog on leash. To keep your hands free, you may tether the leash to a heavy object. (Note: The tether is not a means to leave your dog unsupervised.) You may also securely step on the leash. If you are holding your dog on a leash, remain stationary. Allow a person to approach your dog. As soon as your dog seems ready to jump, have the person turn around and walk in the opposite direction so that he is out of your dog's reach. Have the person approach again, and if the dog tries to jump, repeat the leaving process. If your dog chooses to sit, the person may reward the dog with a treat or a pat. Repeat this sequence, practicing with multiple people until your dog immediately sits with the approach of any person.
Keep treats near your front door and stashed all around your house. Upon a visitation, give your guest some treats. Tell your guest to give your dog a reward only after he performs a command. Two great commands to use are "sit" and "down."
Always take treats when you walk your dog. Whenever anyone asks to pet your dog, give the person some treats and practice the above scenario.
Direct eye contact or yelling at your dog are signs of attention and actually reward the jumping behavior. Instead, ignoring your dog works great as a punishment. If your dog jumps on you while you are standing, turn your head or your entire body away. The same technique applies if your dog is off leash and jumping on someone else. If you are sitting and your dog jumps on you, simply stand up and walk away.
Also training "place" is a great way to teach your dog to go to a specific place on command and stay there until released (see www.catalystmagazine.net, "Teaching Your Dog to Settle"). Your dog cannot jump on people if he is staying on his place.
If your dog is clicker-trained, click the behavior that you would like him
to repeat (for example, "sit"), and then give your dog a treat.
If the above techniques do not work for you, please consult a professional positive reinforcement (reward-based) trainer.
Your guests will be impressed to see a dog that automatically sits when they reach to pet him. You will appreciate your dog's new-found calm behavior. And your dog will be happier, too!
Johanna Teresi is a professional dog trainer and owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC. fourleggedscholars.com.