(and how to stop it)
Many people ask me, “how do I stop my dog from jumping?” There are several ways to accomplish this. You will hear me say, over and over again, there is more than one way to train a dog. One could start off by ignoring the behavior, but most likely that won’t work. It might for some, but the majority of dogs will just jump more. Most dogs aren’t jumping to make you mad, but more for attention and they are often looking for the direction that they are not receiving.
Another option to try is to use a little squirt bottle or can of air (MADE FOR DOGS). I have to put that in CAPS because I know someone might think to go to the local store and grab the can of air for computers/electronics. In the end, you have to do what is right for your comfort level. Any time a dog goes to jump, you would initiate whatever method of correction you plan to utilize. For example, when the dog jumps, you squirt the bottle or ignore the behavior. You want to do this as soon as your dog’s paws leave the ground. I’ve seen people scream at the dog and act like they are hurt. Sure, this scares the heck out of the dog, but why would we do that? Could you replicate this in public if you had to?
So, you ask, what would you really do, Benny?
If it were me ,and I had a jumping dog I’d probably start by teaching them to sit. It’s important to give them something else to do when you tell them not to jump. This is “the direction” that I’m talking about. Dogs love it, so why not, interact with them a little. They absolutely love interaction and direction. After my dog has a nice solid sit, I then make sure to reinforce all kinds of good stuff that happens when they keep their butt on the ground. It is only then do I begin teaching the dog corrections.
Ah yes! I said corrections!
Can you imagine living in a world where you had zero consequences for your actions? I’m not saying to yank their head off and I’m not saying correct with an e-collar. What I could suggest is a couple leash pops(a light pop of the leash) any time they jump. This, followed by a nice solid sit, will teach a dog that they have choices in life especially after the dog gets rewarded for sitting. Most dogs, in the end, will choose a nice tasty treat or pat on the head over a pop of the leash. Even when it’s a light one, at that, because they have a choice! Now imagine adding a distraction and your dog didn’t know they had a choice. If all they knew is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement, but they didn’t know anything about positive punishment or negative punishment. For most dogs, that distraction would mean so much more than the treat or whatever it is you’re going to reward them with. This is why I teach dogs that there are rewards and consequences for their actions. We live in a society where we can’t tell humans that they’re doing something wrong and that has trickled down to our pets. It is ok to correct your dog, I promise. In the end, you’ll have a dog that’s confident and not walking around expecting a cookie at ever corner. Although, if they are doing what they are supposed to, you better have their paycheck. You want yours on a job well done and so do they.