Jumping, Barking and Household Manners
You’re constantly reinforcing behaviors. Whether it’s the correct behavior or the wrong behavior, you’re reinforcing behaviors with every interaction with your dog, so let us help you make sure it’s the behaviors you want!
Some people naturally understand this method, and they reinforce the right behaviors. For example, when you say sit, the dog sits. They get pet on the head. Or you walk in the door, and the dog doesn’t jump on you; you give them all the attention you know they want! Most notably on the leash, they walk politely with no tension in the leash; they get to keep walking. Or they see a person or a dog, you ask them to sit, and they wait patiently while that person or dog comes over to say hi. That person stops approaching when your dog gets up from sitting or starts barking. They begin to understand that the person moves forward only when a specific behavior happens. Sitting works! Quiet works!
The problem is that when most people walk into a house with a dog, if the dog doesn’t jump on them, they sometimes pay no mind. We take well-behaved dogs for granted. Four feet on the floor is what good dogs should do. But what is the motivator to continue that behavior if you ignore it more often than not? The dog can learn that behaving doesn’t get the attention it desires, so they try jumping. And even if it’s undesired, it still gets some attention, even if it’s negative attention.
Unknowingly or unintentionally, many pet owners reinforce unwanted or “wrong” behaviors. Such as a dog jumping to say hi to you when you get home, the dog wants your attention, and you freely give it because you love how happy they are to see you! But when they do the same thing to your guests, you get upset. See the confusion for the dog?
My first tip for jumpers is to teach the dog what works.
You don’t even have to use treats, just a bit of patience and commitment! Let me be clear, chronic jumpers or highly excitable dogs, treats CAN help the dog focus faster and give you the desired behavior, like a beautiful sit when you enter. Generally, the person they are jumping on IS the treat!
There are many opportunities and games we can teach for this!
I start with the person that the dog is LEAST likely to jump on; try not to be offended if that’s you. 😊 Always have a dog on a leash to have some control of the dog but try not to pull back on the leash or correct the dog’s choices by a leash correction. You can play this game in an open room inside the house or at a door entryway.
We add many levels and variables in this process to make sure this behavior is generalized and works for everyone your dog sees and greets.