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Day 13: Jumping Beans

My 4 month old daughter loves it when we help her dance to Shake my Sillies Out. There is one line that encourages her to “Jump your Jiggles out”. This is great for kids but not so great for the canine family member. It’s not so much fun to be the object your dog jumps his jiggles out on. It can be painful to you, it can tear nice clothes, it can get muddy paws all over you, it can be unwanted attention for guests, and ultimately jumping can be a rude way for your dog to get your attention.

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Dogs jump for a lot of different reasons: to get attention, to tell you they love you, to welcome you home, to welcome guests into your home, because they are stressed, because they are excited, and sometimes to tell you to back off. No matter what the reason is, it is better for you and your dog if he learns how to properly greet you.

If you like your dog to jump on you when you get home, that’s fine, but make sure your dog waits until you ask for it. You don’t want to be the person who walks in the door with two armfuls of groceries only to be knocked over or tripped by your dog.

Jumping Management Tips:

  • Put your dog away when you leave the house so when you walk in the door he isn’t right there. This way you can get in the house, do what you need to do and you can allow your dog out when you are ready to train. Options for putting them away are: a crate, behind a baby gate, or in a safe room.
  • If you can’t put him away be ready at the front door to train. Keep treats outside of the door and make sure your hands are free.
  • If your dog jumps on guests, put your dog away when guests come over. This means your dog could be put outside in a fenced in yard, in a crate, or in another room. This way you can greet your guest and prep your guest. When things have calmed down you can bring your dog out to greet them properly.
  • Use a leash when introducing to guests. A leash allows you to keep your dog off of your guests. You can then request a sit before your dog even comes into contact with the guest and reward your dog heavily for sitting in such an exciting situation.
  • Have lots of yummy treats available. Treats are best delivered from you, NOT your guest. Since you know what behaviors you’re looking for it’s easier for you to reward your dog for proper behavior rather than trusting your guest to do so.

Jumping Training:

First off, make sure you’ve implemented the management tips above to ensure that you are successful.

If your dog jumps on you:

  1. When you open the door to enter your house or the dog’s safe room, don’t open the door all the way. Instead, crack the door a little and request a “sit”, only once and wait. Don’t allow your dog to push his way out and ignore all behaviors other than sit. Once he’s sitting, slowly open the door inch by inch, you may toss a treat in as he maintains his sit. If he should move to get up, simply shut the door. Make sure you shut the door for any movement, so that you don’t get caught off guard. You are not allowed to slam the door on your dog!
  2. If he maintains the sit, release your dog by giving your release cue. Be ready with treats, deliver one treat after another to your dog at your knees for about 5-10 treats. Delivering treats low keeps your dogs feet on the floor.
  3. After delivering 5-10 treats slow the rate of reinforcement and ask for a sit. When your dog sits again deliver a high rate of reinforcement (a jackpot). Then release your dog again and repeat the sit process until he is calmly sitting in front of you. You may now go about your business.
  4. As your dog gets better at this process you can fade out the treats being tossed into the room as well as the treats by your knees. The “sits” to be let out of the room and to greet you will be reinforced by access to you and attention from you.
  5. If at any point your dog jumps on you, turn your back and wait quietly until there are 4 feet on the floor again. If this is a common problem in your house follow the steps for guests.

If your dog jumps on guests:

  1. After your guest is settled. You may want to start this with your guest sitting in a chair. Go and get your dog on a leash.
  2. Practice loose leash walking from the safe place to just out of leash length away from your guest. Ask for a sit and reward it with treats.
  3. When both your guest and dog are calm release your dog to greet your guest. Go with your dog and a handful of treats. Deliver treats to your dog at your guest’s feet one at a time in rapid succession. This is teaching your dog that when he greets someone treats magically appear on the floor and he should keep all 4 feet planted.
  4. Slow the delivery of treats. You may then ask for a sit and reward your dog for the sit. If he likes pets, your guest can pet him. You should also reward your dog for maintaining the sit while being petted because this is an exciting and new event.

Not only will teaching your dog to sit to greet you and guests make you happy but it will also reduce your dog’s stress as well. Dogs that greet people like they are returning from war each and every time are often over excited, stressed, and unable to calm themselves. Teaching your dog to control his jumping and how to greet you properly will help him become a confident and balanced dog.

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