June 2024
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postheadericon All of us have seen or experienced it

All of us have seen or experienced it. You come home and your dog is so excited to see you that he jumps on you and knocks you off balance. While it may cute when the dog is a puppy, once they become adult, it can become a real issue.

Most dogs will jump on people at times. The frequency will vary with breed and by individual. One theory suggests that dogs use their nose and eyes to explore and that whenever they try to get close to a person’s face it is not to attack, but to interact.

If this theory is true, then one way to prevent jumping is to kneel down and interact with the dog at its level. Keep an eye out for excessive enthusiasm but let the dog explore your face. If you have taken the time to become the pack leader, you should not fear a bite by interacting in this way.

In the case of an older rescued dog, or an unknown dog, you should take proper precaution when using this technique. Keep a thumb inserted in the dog’s collar, just behind the neck and be prepared to jerk sideways, if necessary. Whenever possible, use a sideways jerk as opposed to a sharp pull backwards as the dog’s throat can easily be bruised. The movement is not meant to punish but to protect the owner and inform the dog.

You can also discourage jumping using off-leash training. Begin by having the dog stand in front of you. Using a sit command is very useful against jumping but your dog can’t sit all the time. Start the exercise with the dog standing as jumping usually follows standing or running.
Keep a close eye for any body tension that precedes jumping and when youyou’re your dog about to jump order a ‘sit’. At first, your dog will probably jump anyway. In that case, lift your leg slightly and bump the dog’s chest with your knee or thigh. At the same time, you want to thrust a palm near the dog’s face. Follow this by a sharp command: ‘off!’. (‘Down’ is a separate behavior.) Using a raised knee helps to keep the dog off and puts it off balance while the hand in the face both obscures its vision and discourages a repeat jump.

For more stubborn cases, enlist the help of a partner and do some leash training. Have your partner jerk sideways as you issue the ‘off!’ command as soon as the dog starts to leap. As you need to have the dog focus and obey you, you should issue the command, not your partner.
If you are working outside without the help of a partner, you can use a long leash wrapped around a tree or post. This will be more difficult and the jerk may be more back than to the side.
Another option is to use positive reinforcement techniques. With the use of a treat or a favorite toy, hold out the treat or toy above and slightly behind the dog’s head as soon as the dog starts to jump. This will distract the dog and puts it slightly off balance. It will also encourage a sit, just when the impulse was to jump.

Be patient and firm when training the ‘off’ command. Repetition and consistency are, as with any training, will be your key to success.  With time, most dogs will learn to control this natural behavior until and unless they receive permission to jump.

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