Updated: Mar 18, 2019
I want to start this blog post with a word about CONSISTENCY.
Consistency is probably the number one most important thing when training your dog. I really can't stress that enough. In fact, there are many blog posts in the pipe line that is all about how to be consistent, and what that really means in daily life with your do, so for now I just want to talk about being mindful of this when interacting with your dog in one circumstance...jumping up.
We have all experienced energetic, playful, social and loving dogs. Especially puppies. As soon as you walk in the door, they are all over you, welcoming you home as if you have been gone for years! They are jumping up at you, to lick your face all over, or get onto your shoulders, or both.
Why does my dog jump up at me? And what does consistency have to do with this?
To start with, I want you to think about what you are doing when you walk into the house and are confronted with your jumpy dog. It is at this moment where you can start to undo a lot of hard work that you have already put into teaching your dog commands and general house manners.
First you might be tempted to say "DOWN" as they leap into the air.
When you say 'Down', what you mean for them to do is to put all four paws back on the ground. BUT haven't you taught your dog that 'Down' actually means to lay down?
If you have said 'Down' and your dog stops jumping at you, you would praise them. So now to your dog, does 'Down' mean to just to not jump and keep four paws on the floor?
There has been NO CONSISTENCY in what the command means. Your dog is now associating that word with something else instead of lying on the floor.
Second you might be tempted to push them away as you are coming in the door.
By pushing with your hands on your dog, this turns it into a game and they will keep coming back for more.
Third thing you might be doing is, at times, laughing or welcoming your dog as they jump.
Dogs are comedians at heart. The tone of your laugh will sound incredibly positive to them...spurring them on even more.
The days that you have missed your dog and greet them with full enthusiasm as they are jumping is REINFORCING this behavior.
Other days you might come home tired from a long day at work and yell at your dog for trying to greet you like this...HOWEVER yesterday you welcomed it with open arms. Dogs are OPTIMISTS. They will forever try for the reaction they are hoping for and have received in the past.
DECIDE WHETHER YOU WILL 100% TOLERATE THE JUMPING OR 100% COMMIT TO BEING CONSISTENT IN YOUR INTERACTIONS WHEN THIS IS OCCURRING TO STOP IT
How can you get your dog to stop jumping up at you?
1) Be VERY mindful of the words you use when you come in. Choose specific words for commands and keep them the same. Don’t use ‘Down’ for both lying down and stop jumping up. Try using 'Off' instead for when they are jumping up.
2) Do not give your dog any physical attention while they are jumping. Continuously turn your back to them as they are jumping. The second all four paws remain on the ground, turn back around and give lots of affection and praise. If they jump up at you as you are praising, turn right back around again. By being CONSISTENT in doing this, they are learning that the only time you greet them is when they are calm and not jumping.
3) Give your dog something to do when you come in. For example, encourage them to get a toy. A lot of dogs can't seem to multi-task with jumping up and having something in their mouth! You are also using the best strategy...tell them what TO DO as opposed to what NOT to do.
This is obviously very basic/rough training advice and if you need any help implementing these then GET IN TOUCH. The main aim of this blog is to make you aware of your potentially inconsistent behavior and how this is helping your dog to jump up.
Other Command Ideas
If you do want to use 'Down' to mean stop jumping up, then that is fine! I suggest you use one of these other words as the command for lying down:
'Drop' - just came across a new client who uses 'drop' for lying down, as opposed to I use 'drop' for having them let go of something in their mouths