Dog Gone Jumping Dogs!

Dogs jump! It's what they do. In fact, I've almost never met one that doesn't. When dogs are puppies and then as young healthy adults, dogs jump because they get excited and it's fun to jump on their people and onto things that are readily accessible to them.

Face it folks. Many dogs are simply jumping machines. They are built to jump. To get your dog to stop jumping is at first, a daily task that, if not undertaken, will lead you to a life of yelling and correcting the action over and over - until you are sick of it or, even worse, embarrassed it when your dog knocks someone down.

If you deal with this in the beginning, it's much, much easier. I tell people that puppies are like soft pieces of clay. As they get older (like clay left out) they get harder to train. Dogs behave based on their history of reinforcement and if a dog learns it's okay to jump from years of doing it, that becomes the "reinforced" behavior. 

So, what do you do? Give the dog an alternative or "redirected" behavior to perform instead of jumping and reward that consistently. So, as the puppy or dog approaches you, tell it to "sit" before it has a chance to jump on you. Do this over and over and over until you're sick of doing it, and then do it some more. Repetition is critical in training. 

Get the redirected "sitting" behavior 100% inside your home before you start to ask the dog to do it outside. Remember, the more distractions, the more difficult it is for the dog to behave. They are so easily distracted.

Now, get started teaching your puppy or adult dog to sit instead of jumping. If the dog is older and has be eliciting this behavior for a much longer time - be patient! It will take more time to learn a new behavior, but you can teach older dogs new and better tricks!

In a few days I'll talk about how to get them to stop jumping when you are sitting down in the chair or a sofa.