Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Unwelcome Greeting

Jumping up is a common behavioural problem with dogs. It is usually invited and encouraged by owners as a greeting ritual, expression of affection and play. When puppies are small they tend to jump up to obtain your attention and interaction, we reinforce this behaviour by touching and talking to them. The puppy then learns that to obtain attention that is what he must do. As the puppy gets older and bigger in size the more of a nuisance it becomes, especially if you have a dog that jumps up on visitors etc. Ignoring the dog will not solve the unwanted behaviour; the dog might actually try harder to get your attention by jumping up more. The best results will be obtained by teaching an alternative behaviour (sit) with rewards and play, rather than focusing on suppressing the unwanted behaviour. Be pre-emptive, before your dog even has the chance to jump up to greet you, ask for a 'sit'. If he complies he can be calmly greeted, if not, withdraw your attention from him by turning away and then ask again for a 'sit. He’ll learn that jumping up isn’t rewarded, but 'sit' brings him positive interaction and attention.