Monday, December 17, 2012

Four on the Floor: Training Your Dog Not to Jump

What happens when someone knocks on your door or when someone walks up to greet your dog? Does your dog jump? Or do they keep all four paws on the floor?

We expect our service dogs to keep all four paws on the floor. They must never greet people by jumping on them. It’s very important to never reinforce jumping, especially when they’re puppies. It might be cute when a tiny puppy puts its paws on your legs, but it won’t be nearly as cute when that puppy becomes an 85 pound dog and jumps on you. It could even be dangerous.

The general public can make it difficult to teach dogs to keep all four paws on the floor. Some people like when dogs jump on them, and they may reinforce it by petting the dog or talking to it when it jumps on them. If you see your dog getting too excited, you can always walk away and not allow other people to greet the dog until it’s calm.

How to Train It
When your dog tries to jump on you, you can either turn your back or you can walk through them. When you walk through them, the dog will back up, which means all four paws will be on the floor. Puppies will sometimes tumble over backwards. Once the dog has all four paws on the floor and keeps them there, you can give it attention.

If you have a puppy, you can discourage jumping by squatting to pet it rather than bending over. Bending over can inadvertently encourage jumping.

When you have guests or when people ask to pet your dog, make sure to tell them that they can only pay attention to your dog if it keeps its paws on the ground. Getting your guests to help you train this behavior will make it much easier.

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