Jumping is one of the most common problems I hear clients complain about. “How do I stop my dog from jumping?”.
Let’s talk about that, shall we. Jumping or Barking behaviors are not behaviors where there is an immediate fix. Well, let me rephrase. If you follow positive reinforcement training, there is not an immediate fix where a trainer can “just do this and it will be fixed” – you can read my Help! My Dog is Barking blog post as well about barking.
There are many variables to take into account with the statement “my dog is jumping”. When, at what, why, what are you doing before, during and after. Also, every dog is different and will react differently to different training techniques.
For example: a family complained that their dogs were jumping when family members were coming home. However as we discussed the situations, the reason why it was happening was because the family was acting excited (very excited) to see them so this just made the dogs more excited which caused them to jump all over them. This then caused the family to get annoyed and they would react by pushing the dogs off. This reaction teaches the dogs to think they are playing because when we use our hands it is like them playing with their paws. So you see this could have been avoided. This isn’t the dog’s fault, it is a human creation that the dog doesn’t understand. Everything in this scenario was playing to the dogs, the dogs did nothing wrong but they are getting yelled at not to jump.
So starting with asking the questions: When? At What? Why? What are you doing before, during and after? are important. There are also other questions but these are some of the main ones. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your approach or what you are doing. However, when you are working with a puppy or dog who has a jumping or barking or other issue. You want to start with management.
Management means that we can’t go straight from jumping to training Fido what we want to do. Training takes time so what are you going to do while you are training Fido to learn not to jump, you have to manage it. So depending on if it is people coming over and you need to leash him before greeting or have him gated while whoever he jumps on comes into the house. These are examples of management. There are numerous ways to manage a behavior but choosing the right way depends on the What? When?
So you have come up with a management routine based on all of the questions your trainer worked with you on. Now it’s time for the training plan. Such as teaching Fido an alternate behavior or an automatic behavior.
Training. When it comes to training for jumping, the best thing would to have them do an alternate behavior, such as sit / stay or down / stay – those are ideal. If they are sitting or laying down they can jump. Even if you have them something like go to their crate if it is when someone comes to the house. Again, depending on what, who and when they are jumping would be dependent on what alternate behavior you would want to set.
There are a combination of ways to approach management and training for jumping. What may work for one dog may not work for another dog. The reasoning can be based on the size, the dog’s training journey, how excited they are and so many other variables. Training does take patience, consistency and remember your dog feeds off of your attitude. So when you get frustrated, so do they.