One common problem behaviour dog owners struggle with is unwelcome jumping up. I want to share with you some easy exercises that you should be doing to reduce your dog's jumping and also what you are most likely doing that is accidentally causing more jumping up
Jumping up is most prevalent during times of excitement for your dog, and if your dog is already naturally a little on the hyper side, then it is important that your plan for reducing and stopping jumping up is carried out consistently. Consistency is the key to any change in behaviour - for us or our dogs.
Often jumping up is a behaviour that a dog associates with greeting people - most likely they are aiming to get up to your mouth so they can sniff all those exciting things that you devoured during the hours you have been away from them. Don't be worried or think that this is about dominance - it is perfectly normal, watch dogs greet each other, familiar dogs will sniff mouths and then continue down to the business end.
When jumping gets out of hand however, people have to take a bit of the blame here, we do things like push or shove dogs off us, yell and shout "No" to our dogs. This kind of behaviour results in the dog getting attention, which is the main aim for a jump up - accidentally rewarding the behaviour.
So our job as dog owners is to teach our pooches the best way to greet a person, which is nothing like the best way to greet another dog. Luckily dogs don't see people as other dogs, so this is not an obstacle that you have to over come, we just need to teach them a better way.
Here are my top 6 tips for stopping jumping up:
1. Ignore jumping up - but don't just ignore the jumping - you must reward the behaviour that you want to see. When ever you say "No" you have to say "Yes" - this means you have to reward your dog for doing the right thing, and not just try to correct them when they do the wrong thing. Ignore also means just that - no looking at or touching the dog.
2. Prevention is better than ignoring. If you can set it up, have a barrier in place between you and your dog so that they can calm down before you interact. If that is not possible, then be prepared and throw some treats on the floor as you come through the door. This orients your dog to the ground instead of jumping up.
3. Friends become your frenemy, no matter how well intentioned they are, your friends and family can sabotage your attempts at training your dog to keep it's paws on the floor. Why? Because the will pat your dog while it is jumping up, or they will push the dog (see my comment above about why that is a bad idea). The good news is, if you take the lead, and you reinforce the behaviour that you want to see - four paws on the floor - then you can avoid the dangers of letting your friends near your dog.
4. Teach your dog that sit = hello. A dog that is sitting is a dog that isn't jumping up. So our aim is to teach the dog to sit to greet people. So it is time to have your mates come around to have a jumping up party and have them help you train your dog. Begin with your dog tethered and then your guests - one at a time - are only allowed to approach your dog if they are sitting. Begin by having your guests give your dog a tasty treat, then move on to pats and attention for good behaviour. Remember you are in charge, and if your friend isn't following the rules - send them to the lounge room for a timeout.
5. Reinforce calm behaviour, all the time. As people we are good at wanting to correct mistakes, but not crash hot at rewarding good stuff. This is because, the bad stuff annoys us and we want it to stop, however the quickest way to fix something is reward what you want. If your dog is calm and relaxed, then slip them a reward, or give them a slow, calming pat in their favorite place. Reward calm with calm rewards.
6. The one thing that can go wrong when people are rewarding a sit is that they accidentally create what is known in the biz, as a behaviour chain - that means the dog starts to think "first I jump, then I sit, then I get a treat". This is a timing problem, not a dog problem. If your dog continues to jump up before a sit, simply don't reward them - take a couple of steps back and encourage them to come with you, then wait for the dog to sit without jumping.
It is simple - just stick to the plan and be consistent!
thank you for that Jen -I notice your picture is a greyhound -do they jump like whippets. What about jumping on benches when you are not there -bench surfing as whippet owners say?
I know he does it as soon as I take my other dog for a walk first as often things are on the floor -have not left food there for a long time but he even took unopened packages and once a big box of Lindt chocolates, and ate them.....