Dogs jump up because they love us and think the proper way to greet a human is by jumping up and demonstrating how happy they are to see us. Dogs don’t jump up for any other reason. Dogs are not out to rule the pack. They are just trying to do what they think will make them fit in. Think about this: We humans are always touching one another in greeting with hugs, kisses, arm touches and handshakes. Dogs learn human social behaviour from watching and interacting with us and imitating our behaviour. Some rare dogs even learn to smile by showing their teeth, just like humans, which can be a little disconcerting if you don’t know they are smiling in a happy greeting ritual. It’s called imitative behaviour. When they are developing puppies, most of our puppies usually don’t have other dogs to learn social behaviour from, so they learn it from us. Here is how to teach them an appropriate dog-human greeting ritual.
Start in a non-distracting environment. Make it as easy as possible for the dog to learn.
A clicker is a very useful tool for this, as it will tell him he is doing a good job without elevating his level of excitement, and it is very easy to time your behaviour marker using a clicker.
At no time say “Down”, “Off”, “or anything like that.
When the pup is approaching you, Click to mark the behaviour of four paws on the floor and toss a treat onto the floor in their direction.
Always put the reward on the floor to make it easier for the dog to learn by keeping his focus on the floor.
Click to mark the behaviour you want (four paws on the floor), before the jumping up occurs.
If the dog jumps up, turn sideways and step away, so he isn’t on you, and as soon as his paws hit the floor, click and put/toss a treat on the floor. Toss another one on the floor while he is down there.
When he seems to “get it”, start doing some “set ups”. Walk through a doorway, practice. Walk through the doorway again. Practice more. When he gets it, start doing things that might elicit him to jump (ie Jump up and down, wave your arms in the air) If he jumps up, turn sideways and step back and return to calmer, less enticing body language. Then when he gets it try again or if he is successful after your proofing and really gets it:
Enlist the help of a dog friendly friend or relative that doesn’t spend a lot of time watching TV dog trainers. Get them to repeat steps 2 to 8, with you doing the clicking and rewards. If your friend is amenable to it, get them to click and reward too, after showing them how it’s done
Once puppy is really good at staying off, (after a few lessons) you can start asking for a “Sit” if he knows this.
Give yourself a pat on the back for doing a great job.
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