Jumping Up

From Jo Ann Mather, (semimom@premier1.net)

There are number of ways to deal with a dog that jumps up on people. You've probably heard the "step on their toes" theory (ever try to step on a Sheltie's toes when he's dancing around in front of you?) or the "knee the chest" (this can be dangerous to the dog). The best way is to handle it like this:

When the dog jumps up, they are making a play for your attention. They equate YOU with your face, and they are trying to get closer. What you do is grasp the dog's front paws, one paw in each hand, and dig your thumbnails into the top of the paw, HARD. All the time, talk nicely and pleasantly to the dog. The dog does not equate the discomfort he is feeing with YOU, because you are talking nicely to him -- all he realizes is this position is quite uncomfortable and it must be HIS FAULT, because he's the one who jumped up there. He will, quite quickly, try to pull his paws away and get off. It doesn't take more than two or three applications of this treatment to "cure" the dog from jumping up.

A second opinion from Carrie, (cocf@magicnet.net)

I do not feel it is nescessary to dig your fingernails into your pup's paws. When he jumps up hold his paws, don't squeeze them, just gently hold them. Don't say anything to him good or bad, be neutral. His back legs will get tired after a little while. When he starts getting tired and wants to get down hold him a few more seconds. He will soon learn its not fun to jump on you anymore.

From Arlene Courtney, (courtna@fsa.wosc.osshe.edu)

Here's another training method. Teach the commands FEET UP and FEET OFF. Feet up has a number of uses. You can use it to get a larger dog onto the grooming table, or use it as a reward. In training, you can let your dogs put their feet up for petting as a reward for a job well done. For those of us that are a bit lazy, it saves you from having to bend over so far to pet a sheltie! You can work on this with a short dog while watching a tv movie eating popcorn.

Teaching Feet Up:

With a goodie entice the dog to put its feet up to get the goodie. Start on an inanimate object like a chair, wall or post. As the dog gets the hang of this, introduce the feet up command. When the dog can put the feet up on command (usually doesn't take long), introduce the feet off.

Teaching Feet Off:

With the dog's feet up, move the goodie so that the dog has to put its feet on the ground to get the goodie, introducing the feet off command. As soon as the dog gets the hang of feet off, increase the ante by getting the dog to put its feet up (leash on). While continuing to hold the goodie out of reach, give the feet off command. If the dog doesn't respond to the command, use a downward pop with the collar (you don't need to jerk hard, just surprise the dog). As the feet touch the ground, reward. Soon you should be able to hold the food up while giving the feet off command. The dog should keep all four on the floor.

This exercise can be used on both people and things like kitchen counters! This is a good exercise to teach to students in a CGC class. It is a useful starting point for the greeting exercises. The method seems to work well with these folks. Some of the students initially are very hesitant to teach the feet up because they think that it will encourage jumping up behavior. This is not the case usually, because the feet up is now on a cue. If you don't want the feet up, don't ever give the cue. If the dog is excited and looks like it is going to jump up, you can remind it not to with the feet off command. Iit is appropriate to give a correction if the dog uses the feet up without a cue or ignores the feet off command - sheltie ruffs are just perfect for a swift pop downward. Such a correction is not painful, while the surprise factor is great.

The advantage of having the separate UP and OFF commands is to be able to give the dog something positive to do instead of just indicating its doing something wrong. Whatever technique you choose, be consistent. Jumping up can't be ignored one day and corrected the next. It must be black and white. Either be black and white that the dog can do it on command, not on his own, or that feet on the floor is acceptable and feet up anytime is unacceptable.



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