Jumping up enthusiastically is part of normal canine behaviour. It has its roots in puppy greeting behaviour which involves licking the muzzle of returning adults. For a weaned wolf puppy it is essential and normal to beg for food by jumping up and licking the adult’s mouth to stimulate it to regurgitate food. In adulthood and domestic dogs jumping up becomes a normal greeting and appeasement ritual. Dogs consider it a compliment – we consider it a nuisance, especially in adult dogs.
In all likelihood it is also a behaviour you have reinforced (rewarded) when your dog was still a puppy. Tail wagging, jumping puppies are just irresistible. How great must your dog’s confusion be when he grows up and suddenly you punish him for something that comes naturally to him and he was praised and cuddled for all along. He was never really taught not to jump on you, was he??
So, let’s teach Fluffy to stop jumping.
In a nutshell you have to make jumping up unrewarding and teach him an alternative way to greet you, which is rewarded.
While retraining your dog try to avoid the situations in which he normally jumps up. Use a leash or his collar to stop him from jumping on visitors and yourself. Alternatively ignore the jumping up and turn your back, don’t speak to him (no, not even to shout at him!!), don’t touch him. It is important that all family members stop to acknowledge the dog if he jumps.
Cool your greeting ritual. On returning home, walk past your dog, ignore him for a little while and then call him to greet him calmly. If he is not too hyper kneel down so he does not need to jump up.
Praise and greet only while all four paws are on the ground.
Give your command to let go and swop the toy with a nice treat.
Give your cue to retake the rope and start tugging again.
Practice these exchanges before your dog gets really excited with some slow-motion,calm tugging.
Once the dog releases the toy on command put the treats out of sight.
He only retakes the rope when invited to do so.
Get one specific toy for your tug-of-war and stick to that toy.
The game starts only with that toy and on your cue e.g. “Take the rope”.
Should Fluffy grab the toy uninvited, tell him “too bad” and interrupt the game for a short while before you start again.
Do not tolerate accidents
During the heat of the game dogs will sometimes make contact with your hand by mistake. Screech “OUCH!!!” and immediately stop the game. Fluffy is very capable of controlling his teeth and you can use this as a reminder to keep them off people at all times.
Other than that let Fluffy be as excited as he wants to. Let him tug, shake and growl to his heart’s content.
Tug-of-war makes a great reward during obedience exercises as well.
Should you encounter any problems or have any questions please contact: