Jumping up is one of the first things my new group of puppy owners want to prevent.
So, what to do about dogs that greet people using a well-timed takedown! How can you invest a little bit of time to help your dog?
Of course, a friendly dog is very important, so it is essential not to shout or punish your dog for just liking social contact. This has the opposite effect, teaching your dog to fear people. I have seen behaviour problem cases where a dog acts in a very confused manner when visitors arrive due to punishment. Dogs can end up trying to chase visitors away or snap at them in an effort to stop the anticipated ‘no’ reaction.
It is much easier to train the dog - properly - to do something you really want. A dog that has learned to sit as a means to get a visitor to greet him will be a very happy and self-controlled dog.
Firstly, the whole family needs to commit to resolving the problem. Each person needs to get into the habit of asking the dog to sit for every bit of attention, games, and of course, food. Your dog will learn that ‘sit’ means ‘please’ and must be done for every human being.
Next, teach your dog to sit and wait in a place that is a little distant from the entrance door. Most dogs sit patiently for their dinner and owners have taught this easily enough, so no excuses!
Put your dog on a lead and practice a sit in your chosen spot whilst you open and close the front door. Always go back to the dog and give a tasty treat for staying put. If your dog moves, calmly use the lead to gently steer the dog back to the spot! Build up to practising whilst family members come in and out of the door. Next, train your dog to sit with less familiar visitors that you have invited round. Your dog can only be greeted when sitting in the chosen area, which he will quickly learn is the best way to earn the fuss he really wants. Keep him on lead to prevent errors at first. It really is that simple to get good manners and keep your happy, friendly dog.
Karen Wild is an APBC registered behaviourist and qualified dog trainer with 20 years experience. She is also an ABTC clinical animal behaviourist. Her practice ‘Pawprint’ offers behaviour referrals for vet practices and puppy classes in the local area. Karen is a training and behaviour contributor for Dogs Today magazine and author of ‘What your Dog Wants’. To find out more visit www.karenwild.co.uk or call 01778 560465.