Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tips for Making Your Dogs Behavior Polite

Does your puppy greet people with a polite sit or a body slam? While cute as a puppy, jumping can be disastrous as a 75 lb. energetic dog. Learn how to train your puppy with polite manners when greeting people.

First, let's discuss why dogs jump. One of the main reasons for jumping up and trying to get at our face is it's a natural dog behavior. Watch dogs as they greet each other. They lick at each other's muzzle. This is considered a polite greeting in canine-canine behavior. However, most people consider it rude behavior when it comes to canine-human relations.

To stop the behavior, humans do exactly what would be considered play initiation in doggie world. We take our hands around the head/neck/shoulder areas and shove our dog down. Again, watch dogs. They take their front paw and place it around the head/neck/shoulder areas.

When our dog does not understand that we want him to stop, we continue to shove. Then, we get really mad, shout at him and use even more physical force. From our dog's perspective he is really confused now. He thought you were playing and all of the sudden you snapped and turned aggressive.

So just how do you get your dog to stop jumping on you and guests? First, ignore the behavior. Ignoring in a dog's world speaks volumes. Do not say a word. When you see your dog coming towards you, expect him to jump. Walk in his direction and right through him like he is not even there. Alternatively, you can turn 180 degrees with your back towards him. Do not knee him; brute force does not work.

By walking through him you just told him that you don't approve of his behavior. The second he is calm and has four feet on the floor praise him quietly. If you say Good Boy excitedly, he will get excited and may start jumping again. He is learning a new behavior and copy mechanism.

When you come home, don't make a big deal out of it. Walk through the door and through your dog. When he's calm, then praise and pet him. He will learn that calm behavior will get your attention. Since he will not be rewarded for excitement, the jumping will eventually extinguish.

Once you've taught your dog to stop that initial jump, tell him, "Sit". If he is sitting, he cannot be jumping! Be sure to praise when his bottom is on the ground as well as his front paws. Scratch his chest for a second or two, and then stop. You do not want to get him in an excited state again.

If you really like your dog jumping on you then give it a command and only let your dog jump on you when you give the command. I repeat, ONLY when you give the command. When your dog is at 80% no jumping, you can start training him to jump on cue. When your dog is calm, say, "Jump" and bring your arms enthusiastically up. Tell him "Good Boy" and give him a treat. Then, immediately tell him "Sit" and reward him sitting. He will learn to jump once and then stop.

Remember, this may take some time. If your 75 lb. Labrador has been body slamming you for two years, that habit will be hard to break. Consistency will be imperative. Do not get frustrated or angry because your dog is "stubborn". Re-evaluate how everyone is handling the situation. Is someone inadvertently rewarding the jumping? This is almost always the case.