If your dog is jumper, you’ve probably tried a few different methods of breaking the habit. And if you’re still searching for a way to stop your dog from jumping (on people, on doors, on furniture, on cars), this week’s How to Train Your Human (for dogs) post from celebrity pet trainer Harrison Forbes might help. Here’s what Harrison has to say:
Of all the annoying behaviors, jumping has to be one of the worst.
I can tell you that most jumpers are shaped into it as puppies and young adults. A cute little six week old puppy jumping up-and-down on our leg or in our lap, isn’t very intrusive and so we allow those behaviors to keep going, but soon they become hard-wired as young adults.
So if you have a puppy, it is imperative to nip this in the bud.
Why Dogs Jump on People:
Most jumping behaviors are an excited dog that just wants your attention and wants to be petted and loved! And there’s nothing wrong with that. They just have learned that the best way for them to get that payoff is to jump up and demand your immediate attention. As I have stated in previous posts the most underused and powerful tool you have many times as a pet owner is the ability to ignore behavior.
Before I wrote this I looked at a few advice sites to see what the current discussion about jumping is. I have to say I disagree on one big point with most of the advice that was given.
While the main focus of the tip was correct in that you only praise or give attention to your dog when there are in a seated position or all four feet are on the floor, they left out one crucial point. As we have previously discussed dogs can learn to string events together when they are in continual succession, so immediately praising a dog when their four feet hit the floor after jumping only teaches the dog that, “Yes I’m going to get petted when my feet hit the floor but the first part of this process is to jump!”
Most all of the behavioral studies show that after 5 to 8 seconds a dog’s ability to string events is broken. So it is necessary when your dog’s four feet hit the ground to pause for a minimum of five seconds before showering praise. This will prevent jumping from becoming the precursor to praise.
Dogs will quickly learn and change tactics to get attention when they are getting a nice payoff for exhibiting the behavior you want. So it’s very important to praise the dog when they’re in a calm state that you want. If you have a super intense, active dog many times you can keep a toy or a ball at the door and give the dog an outlet for its energy that doesn’t allow for jumping.
This diversion can be good to wean a jumper into a new behavior and give them something to focus on that will let some of that excess energy out.
Just remember most jumping is like a tap on the shoulder saying, “Hey here I am! Pay attention to me!” so find other ways for your dog to be able to get your attention in a way that is appropriate.
My dogs have given me an entirely new spiritual perspective on life. I now have a genuine understanding of unconditional love and provision.