Does your dog greet you with a jump for attention? It’s his natural way of saying hello, but it can become a problem, especially if you have a large dog.
Training him out of this behavior is possible and easy, with consistency and the right rewards. Read on for a few tips.
Negative attention can be a reward
Jumping is a common behavior issue that is often reinforced, inadvertently, by the pet owner. What you may not realize is that any attention you give you dog after he jumps on you, even if it’s to say ‘no,’ can be positive reinforcement. Your goal then is to offer no reward for jumping or to ignore him. This will help him learn that only dogs with their paws on the ground will get your praise.
Consistency is key
Does your dog get the same response from you and others? Think of it from his point of view. If he has a 50/50 chance of getting the attention he wants, he’ll continue to jump for it. This brings up the issue of consistency. It’s one of the key ingredients for success when training Fido. If your dog is sometimes rewarded and sometimes punished for the same action, he won’t learn to change his behavior.
- Use the same response when your dog jumps to greet you. Ignore him, turn your back or walk away and wait for him to get down. As soon as he does, you can turn and reward him with praise or a treat.
- Does he respond to the ‘sit’ command? Teach him to sit before you will give him your attention.
- When he jumps, do not punish him by pushing him aside or yelling at him. Your dog may see this as a reward or reinforcement.
- When you do praise your dog, do it calmly so he doesn’t get excited and lose control again.
- If the jumping often happens at the front door, try a short training session. Walk in and if he jumps, ignore him (keep your hands to your sides or at your chest) and walk out again. Close the door or leave it open a little and tell him to sit. Enter and if he jumps again, walk out again. Repeat this until he stops jumping and you can reward him.
- Ask some friends or relatives to help you as well. Explain the process of walking out if your dog jumps. When they arrive, go to the door with your dog and ask him to sit before opening it. If he jumps, your visitor should leave and repeat the steps.
There’s nothing wrong with a little canine excitement at your arrival! But with these tips, greetings from your dog can be a safe pleasure for everyone.