Recently a man wrote to me about his dog jumping up and I produce part of the letter and my reply:
"I have been doing the off command as a dog trainer told me since he was small and kneed him in the chest all to no avail. I have put him on his leash with choke collar and he is still tugging away. I use the sit command and eventually he calms down enough but that initial greeting is a horror story every time. It has become very frustrating and obviously not pleasant for others. I'll just keep trying."
Give up it will not work. The knee in the chest is so outdated and in my opinion bad advice to ask any pet owner to knee his dog. Pet owners have enough emotional problems and like you give up.
If a dog is jumping up,most pet dog owners will have all hell trying to get a dog to sit. Lets get it right, sorry for being blunt but I shoot from the hip! Most people have never bothered to attend a training school, read a book and now expect to train a dog by letter, well I do not think it can be done.
Dogs react to a trigger like a doorbell for excitement, it is an arrival of another member of the pack, I must jump to show I am the host. With jumping dogs I like to consider removing excitable triggers. The front door bell rings, before opening the door I put away the dog. I am the host not the dog, this raises my status and reduces the dogs.
I bring my guests in. To me my dogs are not big, to me my dogs do not smell, to others they are big, they smell. I also advise my pet owners that what is acceptable to me is not always acceptable to my friends. It is a good idea to remove all excitability when entering your own home. Try walking in without looking, touching or talking for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes then talk and love you dog. This has removed the excitability trigger.
For dogs that jump up we have to think that a dog will do what is rewarding, if its good he does it, if it is not good he does not do it. Simple as that.
When a dog jumps up, do not be aggressive and knee, simply hold him up by his front paws and in a loving voice tell him you love him. He has jumped up so you react by holding him up. Do not let him down, keep him up as long as you can. By keeping him up, I mean stretching him up, and up and keep talking. He will then start to mouth your hands, then and only then drop him down. Do not place him, drop him.
When he is on all four legs which God gave him, love him to bits, cuddle and talk. Then encourage him to jump again, he might well try, as soon as he does grab the paws and repeat the whole exercise.
It is important to get the timing right, it is important that the whole family learn. Your dog will learn in a few minutes that to jump will make you react and he will not find this rewarding.
Its easy, simple and kind..
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.
by David the Dogman
David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located at: www.thedogman.net. David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.