It is very annoying when you go to someones home and their dog (large or small) jumps up on to you. We know they are happy to see you, but you don’t need to be pawed. Let’s look at this from a dog’s point of view. They wait by the door for it to open and when it does, all heck breaks loose. They jump up , we push them down, they jump again, our annoyance increases and we push them down with more force, all the time repeating “Off, Down, Stop.” For most dogs, hands pushing them off is a playful action and they want to play with you. Even when we use our most annoyed tone, it’s still fun for them. Instead of telling our dogs what not to do, why not tell them what we prefer, then reward them for it?
When you come through the door, ignore your dog if he’s jumping up. I know this is a hard thing to do, but keep in mind that having a dog with good manners will be worth the effort. In stead of calling our “Off”, tell your dog to sit. If he does, reward him with a tiny tasty treat, pat on the head, his favourite toy, it will increase the good behaviour and you’ll soon notice that they regularly offering a sit to you for more praise and not be jumping up on to you. Always acknowledge their efforts, don’t take them for granted. Of course, it’s not hard to do this when you look into their eyes and melt.
When company arrives have your dog on a house leash before they come into the home. If you have unexpected guests, ask them to wait for a moment while you put the leash on the dog. This will enable you to assist your dog with his lessons and your dog to gain a reward when he behaves correctly.
When your company enters, ask them to bear with you while you get your dog organized. The criterion for your dog to get a reward is four feet on the floor. Have some treats handy (just a taste is all they need, not a meal). If using food elicits too much excitement, choose a reward that he likes but that doesn’t send them over the top with excitement. Their favour toy might do the trick or kibble rather than a piece of steak.
Your dog must also behave during the course of the visit. You can tether him to the area if necessary during training (always tether to his collar, never to the head halter). Over time you can teach him that “place” means they go to his mat while you have guests.
Now it is time to test your training out on street and in the park. Again, this takes a game plan. The game plan is to teach a fabulous recall.
Just think “In most cases, dogs jumping up on people are running loose. Even if you are at a dog park, surrounded by dog lovers, your dog should be respectful to other. Keep your dog on a long line and every time he bolts toward someone, call him to “Come” and reward him for doing so. The long line will help if your dog continues running forward. By stepping on the line, you can redirect him toward you. You should practise this over and over again.
The last area of concern is your dog jumping and lunging a people when you are out for a walk on lead. Work on your Sit- Stay command to help your dog understand that lunging is not acceptable. If he/she lunges, stop walking and redirect him in to a Sit command. You can reward for this, even though he needed assistance from you, to increase the likelihood of a Sit the next time.
Once they are able to sit and stay with people passing by start the “meet and greet” work with friends and family. Ask them to walk past him and when here’s no lunging or jumping, offer your reward. Slowly increase the difficulty of the exercise by asking your helper to come closer, then over time to come and pat our dog. As always, he must remain seated to get a reward. Remember, the more he gets a reward, the more likely he is to repeat his “Sit and Stay”.
Until your dog is able to handle people passing by and friends patting him while he’s on a Sit- Stay, I suggest you help your dog be successful by not allowing strangers to pat him when he’s out for walks. Keep in mind that you’re aiming for your dog to be the best dog they can be, so putting him in a situation that’s difficult for them is not in their best interest. Raising a dog with manners is always worth the work.