Jumping up is a behavior problem that is a professional dog trainer’s dream. Why? Because it is a problem that will plague and annoy dog owners for years, yet can be easily fixed by the professional trainer in a matter of minutes.
However, the key to teaching your dog not to jump up lies in proper application of any number of anti-jumping techniques. This article will explain both the conventional methods for fixing this behavior, and the tricks professional trainers use to make them work.
As puppies, dog owners often think that jumping up is “cute”. However, when the puppy gets older, it stops being so “cute”. Bigger dogs can actually knock an individual over, and smaller dogs can be, at the least, obnoxious. In order to make the following techniques work, they must be employed consistently.
Your dog doesn’t know the difference between jumping up on an old pair of denim gardening jeans and jumping up on a freshly cleaned tuxedo. As far as your dog is concerned, “Either I’m allowed to jump up, or I’m not.”
Technique: The “knee to the chest” trick Conventional application of this technique: As the dog jumps up, quickly bring your knee into the dog’s chest. In theory, the dog will receive a negative for jumping up and won’t want to jump anymore.
Why the conventional application of this technique DOESN’T WORK! Everyone’s tried this technique. It is in all the dog training books and all the dog magazines. But nobody gets results with this technique due to improper application.
Professional trainer’s application of this technique: As you bring your knee up, it must hit the dog’s chest squarely in the center, making a hollow “thud” sound. Instead of pivoting to the side, lean into the dog. It needs to be quick and fast, so that it utterly surprises the dog.
Correct application of this technique will mean that you will be giving the dog the same type of knee to the chest you would use on a soccer ball. The reason this technique doesn’t work for most people is that the correction (the knee to the chest) isn’t motivational. It should be a quick “bump”. Now, make no mistake, you don’t want to do damage or injury to the dog. But you must do this technique with a lot of motivation. Unless you’re built like Arnold Schwartzenegger, and you own a toy poodle, it’s probably going to be pretty difficult for you to over-correct your dog in the first place.
Next, lean backwards and tap your chest while you tempt the dog to jump up again. This is the most important part. You want your dog to decide for himself that it’s better to sit and receive praise than to jump up and get a correction. If the correction is motivational, you’ll only have to repeat this exercise three or four times. For best results, have two or three different friends also perform this technique on your dog. Do this at the park, in the house, in the backyard, and on the street. Anywhere you can create a situation where you think the dog might jump up, use it as a training opportunity.
An interesting by-product of this technique: With the correct application of this technique, you will notice that your dog will probably start sitting and looking straight up at you. He sees this as an alternative method of getting your attention. When your dog does this, praise him profusely. Pretty soon, anytime he wants attention, he’ll make the choice to sit like a gentleman until given praise.
Alternative technique: The “Snap the leash downwards” trick. Conventional application of this technique: As the dog jumps up, quickly say, “No!” and snap the leash downwards.
Why the conventional application of this technique DOESN’T WORK! Very simply, the correction isn’t motivational. If a police officer gave you a ticket for speeding 145 miles per hour, but the ticket was only for $2, you’d be given a correction… but the correction would have no meaning. In short, if you don’t get results with this technique, it’s probably because your corrections aren’t motivational.
Professional trainer’s application of this technique: Do whatever you have to do to make the correction motivational. If you administer a leash correction, and immediately tempt the dog to jump up… and he does, then you can be sure your correction wasn’t motivational. The proper use and fitting of a pinch collar is recommended if you can’t get a good correction with whatever collar you’ve been using.
Alternative technique: The “Grab the dog’s toes and pinch as he jumps up” trick. This “trick” is popular with many people, but the reality is that it just doesn’t work.
Why the conventional application of this technique DOESN’T WORK! It’s virtually impossible to give a motivational correction with this technique Professional trainer’s application of this technique: In general, professional trainers don’t use this one.