Monday, December 21, 2009

Does your dog jump on guests?? Poor Greeting Behavior

First I feel it is important to remind everyone, that jumping up during greeting humans makes sense to your dog. That is how they greet another dog. So in dogdom, it is a proper greeting, even thought to be a polite greeting. With that said, in the human world, it is rude, offends guests, and can be also dangerous.

We all know the scenario--you come home and are jumped on, kissed from head to toe, your dog(s) may scratch you, etc.

In this entry, I am going to explain how to change the
Poor Greeting Behavior.
Before we start, I need to be sure you understand that methods such as kneeing, pushing your dog off, stepping on your dogs toes, or worse, the smashing of your forearm across their muzzle and leash pull correction (as the dog jumps on a person, the handler pulls the leash to literally pull the dog off their feet), will not change your dog's jumping and poor greeting behavior. It will, in fact, change your relationship with your dog. These types of methods cause fear, distrust, and worst of all, physical pain in the dog.
How to fix it the right way....
Step one--you need to change how you are greeting your pup. Calm behavior gets calm behavior. For example, if you allow yourself to get all excited and talk in a high pitch tone, with hyper body language, your dog only naturally wants to react the same way. You can provide the love and express that you missed your dog by being calm and controlled. You set the tone and you set the needed greeting behavior.

Next, you will need to practice the sit command, not just during greeting times, but all the time. Without a strong foundation for sit, you will be unable to replace the poor greeting with the much more socially acceptable sit.
In the beginning, you will want to collect the following types of treats for the practice sessions--not the run of the mill type treat--you know, the dry old dog biscuits.
You want the high value treats, like pieces of chicken, liver, cheese, or other soft treat. The treat should be the size of a piece of Cheerio cereal.
As you practice remember to send a consistent message to your dog in all circumstances. Make it simple for your dog and eliminate any confusion. This means that everybody who comes into contact with your dog has to reinforce the same message. It's pointless and unfair if you give your dog a cuddle and attention when he jumps up on you, but then yell at him when he jumps up on a delivery man.

Don't give your dog what he/she wants (attention) every time he jumps up and you'll find the behavior decreases.

When you see that your dog is ready to launch up at you, turn your back or walk away from him. During this process don't make any eye contact with your dog and don't say a thing. Ignore your dog and make it clear to him that when he jumps he gets nothing from you. Ask for a sit, say it just once and otherwise do not talk to your dog.

When your dog has settled down and stops jumping, you then initiate some contact with him. Get down to his level and praise and a nice scratch behind the ear.

If you are consistent and persistent with this method, your dog will soon learn that staying on all four legs is a much better alternative!

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Leading the Way offers doggie daycare and all types of training, including private, group classes and a residential training program. Behavior assessment and modification is done using ONLY positive methods focused on shaping behavior.

We have over 25 years of professional experience, dedicated to enhancing the relationship of both ends of the leash, through knowledge, compassion, and building long term relationships with our clients, both two and four legged.