Solving Jumping Up On Visitors Once and For Allby Konnie Hein on 02/22/16
When dog owners initially contact me, the conversation often begins with, "I want to stop my dog's..." followed by a description of undesirable behaviors. When we think of the need for training, we naturally tend to focus on eliminating the things our dogs do that we don't like. Correction collars and other "interrupters" such as shaker cans are often used as quick fixes to stop the undesirable behaviors. Corrections and interrupters have their place in certain training programs, but eliminating a frustrating behavior without replacing it with a desirable behavior only leaves room for another undesirable behavior to develop. Instead of focusing on the behaviors they don't like, I ask owners to first focus on what they would rather their dog do instead. Many times we can train the dog to do something that is incompatible with the problem behavior, therefore solving the problem.
For example, many dog owners ask me how to stop their dog's excited jumping behaviors when visitors enter their home. Not only is an over-excited and jumping dog frustrating to deal with, but he or she can be dangerous to small or frail guests. When I ask the owner what they would like their dog to do instead, they usually describe the perfect greeting as a calm dog who politely sniffs visitors and accepts pats on the head while all four of his or her feet remain on the ground. However, once a dog has developed an over-excited greeting behavior, it can be difficult to calm the dog while still allowing contact with visitors.
In the vast majority of cases, the most successful outcome is achieved when we train the dog to go to a particular place and stay there until the dog is calm and can safely be around the visitors. This video shows the results of training a dog to do this. "Beju" is a high energy dog who loves meeting people. Her natural tendency is to leap up to kiss their faces. Although friendly, this behavior was frightening to some visitors. We solved this problem by training her to go to a dog bed near the door and stay there while people safely entered the home. Over time, she realized that the arrival of visitors was a time to be calm, and her behavior has improved immensely!
Can't see the video? Click HERE.
Training a dog to go to a place (typically a dog bed or dog hammock) has many benefits. When they are lying calmly on a dog bed, they can't jump on visitors, can't beg for food at the table, can't steal food off the countertops, etc. This type of training can also help owners control excited and hyperactive dogs at home. After being properly exercised outside, we can send an excited dog to his or her place while in the house. Very quickly the dog will learn that the house is a place to be calm.
Does your dog jump up or act innapropriately to greet visitors? Is your dog hyperactive in the house? Call us to chat about your dog's problem behaviors, and we'll tell you if this type of training is right for your situation.