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Problem Solving For Jumping Up

If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer."
          --Alfred North Whitehead

An important part of pet ownership is teaching your puppy or dog proper pet manners and how to be a good visitor. It is your responsibility to have control over your dog and to correct bad behavior like jumping on guests. Obedience training is an important factor in this process. Knowing a simple command, such as to sit and stay could make your dog greetings much more pleasant for your friends and guests. These corrections should begin when your dog is a puppy, even before he is leash trained, if you have rescued ab older dog then corrections may require a leash and collar. Remember, your puppy or dog is like a small child. He might misbehave due to curiosity or boredom, not because he knows what he’s doing is unacceptable. Remember, with any unacceptable canine behavior, prevention is easier than treatment.

To correct jumping up behavior problems, follow these basic steps:

Dogs jump up because they want to greet you at face level, to entice you to play or for attention. It is a common problem, especially with active dogs who are playful and like people. Jumping, barking and racing around the house turns into a great game they play every time someone comes through the door. Your puppy or dog needs to learn how to greet people calmly, and needs to learn the commands “off” and “sit.” Keeping your puppy or dog on a leash when meeting people at home can help in teaching him proper greeting behavior. As your puppy or dog begins to jump up onto someone, pull the leash in a downward movement as you say “Off” in a firm tone and move toward him in a threatening manner (as his mother would). As your dog backs away, give him the “Sit” command, helping him into the position if he is still learning it. Once he is sitting, praise him calmly with petting and food treats. While you are in training, ask your guests to withhold petting or giving the dog attention until he is calm and holding the “Sit” position.

Jumping Up on People

Jumping on visitors is a common problem, especially with active dogs who are playful and like people. Jumping, barking and racing around the house turns into a game they play every time someone comes through the door. These dogs thrive on attention and some of the techniques suggested for getting them to stop jumping may actually make the situation worse by giving the dog more attention. Saying "No," yelling at the dog, or trying to push him back down are really ways of giving the dog more attention and may encourage the dog to try harder. Even if your dog obeys commands most of the time, the prospect of meeting someone new may just be too overwhelming, so commands like "off" or "down" may be ignored.

For decades it was believed that the only way to prevent your dog from jumping up on people was to jam a knee into his chest or to step on his back toes. This treatment is cruel and unnecessary, but several positive alternatives exist. Many dogs jump up because their owners have taught them, perhaps inadvertently, that this behavior is okay. By offering any physical contact, like petting or even pushing the dog off, the dogs interpret it as praise or rough play, which they like.

Here are some of the most common reasons for this behavior:

Canine Greeting - Dogs want to greet you at face level. As puppies, they jump up at their mothers and lick her face to get attention. When you leave your dog at home for a long period of time, he will be very excited to see you upon your return. This is especially common with nervous dogs.

Pack Position - Some dogs will use jumping up as a way to test you to see if their position in the group is dominant or subordinate to yours.

Your voice - If you talk to your dog in a high-pitched tone, he will likely respond excitedly and jump up to get closer to you.

Affection - If they are encouraged to jump up as puppies by new owners who enjoy the expression of affection, the behavior will continue when they become adult dogs.

Playtime - If they are taught to jump during playtime to catch balls and other objects, or when they are offered handfed treats as rewards, they are encouraged to jump in other situations. Watch dogs playing together; they love rough contact.

The first step to teaching any behavior is to help the dog discover how to get the reward on their own. We use the bad behavior in training to teach the dog difference between the two behaviors, so the dog can compare the difference between the result of each behavior. The difference is, of course, more reward for the correct behavior and less for the inappropriate behavior.

Teaching the "Off" command

Ask the dog to "Jump" on you and when he does, say "Good" softly without touching or giving treats. Then ask the dog to "Off" and move to the side so they hop back to the ground. When the dogs front feet hit the ground, say "Good" and give 2 or 3 treats, petting the dog and play with him for a few seconds. Then repeat. Dogs like to do the easiest job for the biggest reward. Make jumping a low reward behavior and "Off" a high reward behavior.< /p>

The key to altering this kind of behavior is to divide the process into steps that make it easy for your dog to do the right thing and to use as an effective means of preventing your dog from jumping. Your dog is merely trying to get attention and you are teaching a new way of getting attention, but by being calm and composed rather than jumping up.

You've already done the first step, which is to teach your dog to respond to commands. The next step is to practice commands like "Sit," "Down" or "Stay" near the door, but without visitors. Give lots of praise, petting and food treats for prompt compliance to the commands. Once the dog has mastered that step, start having other family members or friends practice to be visitors. Have the dog sit near the door while someone goes outside, knocks and then enters as a visitor. As long as the dog remains in a "Sit" or "Down" position, continue with praise and an occasional treat. Practice this several times in a row until your dog readily stays in a "Sit" or "Down" position while someone enters the house.

If the dog continues to get up when someone enters, use a leash and collar to keep the dog from disobeying. Use a corrective jerk with a firm "Off!" It is an instructive command and tells the dog what to do by teaching to keep all four paws on the ground. This command is better than just plain "No" because we use that word in so many other situations. Your tone of voice will also serve as a reprimand to show your displeasure at the dog's jumping up. When the dog settles, even for a few seconds, and stays in position, give plenty of praise. Continue to repeat this technique until the behavior stops. Other techniques are to step on the leash so the dog can't get up at all, using a shake can (a clean, soft drink can with a few pennies inside and tape over the opening) or a squirt bottle. Using this method helps condition the dog that jumping leads to discomfort, not to a reward. In time, the dog's conditioning takes over. These methods usually only work if the dog understands the correct behavior. If the dog does not understand what we want, this can cause him to get confused and frustrated.

We would never walk in and start tugging on the leash to stop jumping, as this serves only to cause fear and apprehension from the dog. The dog must understand that there is a difference between "feet on people" and "feet on the ground." Only after the dog understands the difference should we begin tug leashes or add punishment in the training. This way, we can create a big difference between the two behaviors. I don't know how to express that I do allow some jumping from the some dogs. For instance, for a dog that is shy or introverted, or feeling overly compelled about something, the jumping helps the dog release pent up apprehension or frustration they might be feeling.

Another thing that might help in training a dog that insists on jumping up to greet you is to hold the dog's two front paws so he is actually standing on his two back feet. Maintain that position until you can tell he doesn't like it. He may start to struggle or whine. As you release the dog, say "No," "No Jump," or "Off." Dogs don't like to stay in the standing position, so if you repeat this exercise every time your dog jumps up, he will eventually understand that jumping up is only going to cause him discomfort.

The final step is to work with real visitors. By now your dog should be used to the routine of sitting or lying down when someone comes to the door, since he'll know that obeying the command will lead to positive attention and treats. If the dog gets too excited, use the leash and collar corrections to prevent jumping up. Tell your guest that your dog is in training and ask them not to pet your dog or show any attention until all paws are on the floor. As long as the dog remains in a "Sit" or "Down" position, praise and have the visitor approach the dog and give a treat and pet as well.

As with any unacceptable canine behavior, prevention is easier than treatment. The way to show your dog jumping isn't okay is catch the dog before it happens. Watch the dog's body language and you'll be able to anticipate when your dog is going to jump up. When you see even a suggestion of the behavior, very sternly say "Off!" and walk away and ignore the dog. Your dog will learn that jumping not only gets him a rebuff, but also gets him ignored -- the exact opposite reaction from what the dog was hoping for.< /p>