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My Dog Jumps on Everyone
I have a question regarding a problem I've been having for quite
some time. I have a 1-year-old chocolate lab that is a wonderful
dog, with one major problem: his jumping. He has a problem
jumping on people when the come into my home, or when he walks
into theirs, and jumping on me when he firsts gets out of his
crate or anytime he wants something. The larger he gets, the
larger this problem has become, and now it's to the point where
he can literally knock the wind right out of me! He went through
puppy training when he was a pup, and nothing seems to work to
get him to stop. Any suggestions?
This is a problem many owners have with their dogs. Often it
starts when they're pups, but it is often not considered a
problem until the dog becomes a big.
Our first reaction is to say "no" or push the dog down. But we
have to remember the Number 1 rule of dog behavior, which is:
Anything a dog is doing is rewarding to him, otherwise he
wouldn't waste his time doing it.
In this case, what type of pay off is your dog looking for? He
is clearly seeking attention. Any type of attention. That means,
saying no, or pushing him down is actually growing the behavior
behavior is getting worse instead of better, right?).
So your goal should be to set up situations where he is not
reinforced for this inappropriate behavior. We have to teach him
the behavior that we would prefer, because he honestly does not
know. In his eyes, his jumping is working just fine.
You need to set up training sessions for him, with people he
knows well. When there are new guests over, he is so over
stimulated, he cannot learn and absorb at that time. So if you
attempt to "train" him when he is over stimulated, you will both
During your training sessions, instruct your guests (or shall I
say guinea pig!) that they cannot pay any attention to him
unless he has "four on the floor." It is even better if he is
sitting (it is much harder for him to jump on people from a sit
than from a stand position). When he is sitting, they can talk
to him, and pet him, but if he gets up, they need to ignore him,
and turn around.
You can do the same exercise with him. If he starts to jump on
you, turn around. If he is still knocking you down, when he
starts to jump, leave the room. If he is seeing attention, and
we take that attention away, he will start to seek new avenues!
We will then replace the jumping with our desired behavior
For now, when people come over, he needs to be confined (to a
crate of dog-proofed room) until he has calmed down enough that
you can bring him out on lead. Every time he takes the
opportunity to jump on
someone, he is practicing a very rewarding behavior. And
practice makes perfect! So the behavior just becomes stronger.
Also, it may be time to think about additional training. For
some dogs, it is very hard to focus on commands in high stimulus
situations (such as when mom comes home, or when guests come
By enrolling him in a training class he learns to listen to you
around other dogs and people. Training a dog is a lifelong
endeavor. Even after class, you should do short training
sessions with him often. In our Intermediate Class we do weekly
greetings so dogs learn to sit when people approach. This also
helps owners learn the proper way to handle their dog when they
have visitors over.
Devene Godau, CPDT-KA
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