You have a puppy and you have been doing some training. Great work so far!
You’re very proud of your pup and you’ve invited a friend over to meet the little cutie.
The doorbell rings and you run to open it with the fuzz ball right at your heels. Your friend at the door immediately starts cooing and talking baby talk in a high-energy, high-pitched voice and puppy goes crazy dancing around jumping on your friend who is busy telling him how cute he is and telling you oh I don’t care if he jumps on me! Ugh!
We really want to build good habit patterns with our dogs right from the beginning so we won’t have to break bad habits later.
Here is a strategy I use for building and practicing good greetings with friends and strangers.
- Put a treat jar outside the door.
- Tell your guests that you are working on your pup’s training.
- Ask them to help by getting a treat or two, and when you open the door giving the dog a treat once he is sitting and being polite. Give the treat by bringing it under his chin so he’s not tempted to jump for it.
If they are calm and the pup stays calm they can pet him for a moment, but ask them as soon as he starts to get excited or jump to stand up and turn away from him. By ending the attention when he starts to get excited you teach the puppy that being calm is the way to keep getting attention.
My thoughts with this are:
- Involving others in the training process by requesting their help, providing the needed supplies and giving clear instructions helps keep them from accidentally teaching your dog bad habits
- Involving other people in the training of your dog can reinforce that the things you are teaching apply to other people too.
We’ve all met the dog that jumps all over friends when they come to visit . Some of us have personally experienced the dog that jumps all over us.
We hear simple logical remedies like turn your back and ignore the dog…great advice and it works in most situations.
But what about the dog that jumps on your back? That guy is determined to get your attention no matter how determined you are to ignore him, and being climbed like a tree is not good fun. Those toenails are sharp.
It’s almost impossible not to try to correct this in the moment, and it probably should be corrected because you’re being hurt.
You could carry a boat air horn in your pocket and (assuming it doesn’t drive your neighbors crazy) give that dog a blast with the air horn when he tries to climb your back. If this happened every time he climbed on someone he would stop it quickly. Not all neighborhoods are air horn friendly, and even if you just found a quick fix ,only the symptom has been controlled and the underlying problem is still there.
Here are steps you can take to change it:
- Start by giving the dog a job so they can earn attention and praise. The first jobs you will give them are both obedience jobs: sit ,and stay!
- It doesn’t matter how you teach them-clicker, classic conditioning, old school, new school-get the dog’s mind engaged and give them attention for doing what you want.
- If you put in ten minutes working with your dog each day you will see changes. If you put in two ten minute sessions it will go faster.
The take-away is that dogs are intelligent social animals that need a relationship with their people. We give them the interaction and mental stimulation they need when we train them.