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Five Things To Do When Your Dog Jumps on People
Dogs jump on people when they want to attract their attention, not to establish dominance. The act of jumping on a person is reinforcing for the dog, because the person jumped on does pay attention to the dog. So, if you want to train your dog to stop jumping on people, you have to be sure that he doesn't get reinforced for it. Hence, here are 5 things to do when your dog jumps on people:
Interrupt: In order to minimize the reinforcement that your dog gets from jumping on someone he needs to be removed from the situation as soon as possible. When you find yourself in a situation where your pet is around people, put a very short "tag" on his collar. This could be an old leash that is cut 4-6 inches in length. This handhold will allow you to remove your dog right away. This should be removed when it is not needed so that it does not cause harm to your dog by hanging up on something.
Manage: If you know the situation is presenting itself, leash your dog before he can jump on someone. Restrain him so he is denied reinforcement. Other methods to prevent the scene would include: strategically located tethers, baby gates, doors, exercise pens, and crates.
Let everyone know what you would like them to do if your dog starts to jump up. They need to know not to reinforce the behavior, especially those who claim, "I don't mind." Some suggestions:
a. Ask them to greet your dog before he jumps, even if it means kneeling to greet a small dog.
b. Turn and step away from your dog until he sits, or at least has four feet on the floor, and turn back to greet the dog.
c. Ask your dog to sit and reinforce by petting him if/when he does.
d. With your dog on a leash, wait for him to sit before petting him. If he jumps up while you are petting him, pull him backward and resume petting only after he sits.
e. Redirect your dog’s attention by tossing in a favorite toy.
f. Use a gate or a door to provide a barrier.
Train: In the absence of friends or strangers practice "keeping four on the floor" by reinforcing your dog's appropriate greeting behavior.
Apologize/Take Responsibility: If your management efforts fail, and your dog does jump up, apologize. If in the process of jumping, your dog causes damage, then do whatever you need to do to repair the damage. Then ramp up your training and management efforts. Through time, your efforts will see rewards, with a well-mannered dog who greets people appropriately.