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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jumping Up. Part II. Reinforcement, Management

Some dogs jump up because they are rewarded for it.

Friends, strangers, and family members will pat their chest and encourage jumping up.   So if you don't want your dog to jump up, don't let people reward her for it.
What if people don't listen? Then keep your dog far away enough so that people can't interfere with your training.  Your dog can still get treats for looking at people from a safe distance.  See more  in these videos

But patting our chests, petting, and paying attention aren't the only ways that dogs get rewarded for jumping up.  Dogs love attention. If the only way they can get attention from us is in the form of negative attention, then they will take that over no attention at all.

So yelling at our dogs or pushing our dogs when they jump up usually won't stop a dog from jumping. It might even encourage more jumping.  Preferably we want to redirect jumping before it happens.  But if we are too late and our dogs jumps on us - do nothing. No talking, no pushing, no looking. No turning around.

Pet parents might need to wear thick clothing or figure out how to brace themselves if the dog might injure.

But much better than standing there letting the dog jump is management.  Set our dogs up for success by preventing jumping before it happens (and save ourselves from scratches are dirty paw prints)

- Keep toys in your pocket. Toss a toy when you see your dog coming towards you about to jump up
- Baby gates and other barriers. If you know your dog will jump on you when you return home from an absence, set up barriers so that your pup can't meet you at the door.  Greet your dog at the barrier, but don't pet until he or she is calm. (note. If your dog needs to potty, let her out. Don't make him wait.)
- Drop treats on the floor before your dog starts jumping.  We'll talk about this in part IV.
- We can also experiment with how we enter a room or enter the residence. The more calmly we enter, the more calm our dogs will be.  If it's safe to do so and if physically possible, we might try crawling into entrances so our dog will have no reason to jump up.
- Engage our dogs before they start trying to use jumping up as an attention getter

Undesirable management techniques
- Holding on to the dog's collar or stepping on a dog's leash. This is uncomfortable for the dog. It can make some dogs bite. It might injure some dogs.  And not only does it do nothing to decrease arousal, in many situations, it will increase arousal (which is a common cause of jumping up)

- Kneeing a dog in the chest. It might cause injury. It might increase arousal and increase jumping up.

- Leash yanking. Don't yank the dog by the leash. It can cause injury and it can cause negative associations and once again will do nothing to decrease arousal and might increase it.

More to come on jumping up. See all posts here

Next - Impulse Control and Communication

Tells us about your jumpy dog in the comments section below
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