Dog Training, Jumping.

My older dog Sienna is otherwise a near perfect dog, but she jumps on everyone. I cannot seem to break this one. Scare tactics (penny cans and the like) merely frighten her, and while they stop the jumping, she obviously isn’t connecting the dots and sulks on her bed. Holding her paws works a little better, but she still insists on at least three greeting jumps. Getting down to her level is moderately successful, but she still will sit up and place her paws on your shoulders while greeting, and aftershock hops persist for a while. Ignoring her results in three jumps and a lot of vocalizing and hand mouthing.

It is really frustrating since once she settles down, she is fine. She turns into a complete idiot when greeting. Since she is 100% reliable under vocal control, I don’t like to leash her when greeting as she is wont to wiggle too long for me to get the harness connected and piddling may occur. Leashes are only for walks, (not simple piddle trips) or going on a trip.

Any ideas?

When she jumps on you, step on the paws remaining on the ground. You should not have to use full weight, but if you have to you should only have to do it once.

Train the “off” command. Start with food, place food in open palm and say “off” give food once dog is settled. Eventually you can use “off” command to settle dog and stop the jumping. This takes a while, but is a very useful command.

Knee to the chest. When dog jumps, lift knee to push dog back.

The hardest part of all is not greeting until the dog is settled.

When she jumps, just turn your back on her, and do not acknowledge her until she stands quietly. Remember, relentless consistency is required to change behaviors, and you must always have “more time than the dog” - if you have to stand there for 15 minutes before she settles the first few times, then that’s what you have to do.

Does she know sit? We trained one of my dogs to sit before being petted when we come home. It worked quite well.

This. Acting offended was the only thing that worked for my dog. When she jumps on you, frown, turn away, fold your arms, raise your nose. You don’t need to say “Harrumph!” but it helps to imagine it. My dog never jumps on me any more, and only jumps on people who don’t follow my instructions to ignore the dog. For that reason I still leash him when people come over.

When guests come, make sure the dog is leashed and tell all guests to ignore the dog when they come in. It’s hard, especially with dog people, because they always want to play, so they totally wind up the dog. Make sure you’re holding / standing on the leash when the guest comes in. Talk to the guest and make sure they talk to you (rather than to the dog - the dog needs to know that it’s YOUR guest and not hers), take their coat, hand them a drink, etc. If the dog does jump on the guest, jerk the leash to the side (not back, or down) just when her feet leave the floor, to throw her off balance, and tell her to sit.

Make sure the dog knows it’s her job to sit when guests come over. (Most dogs know it’s their job to sit if they want food / treats, and they sit very hard and enthusiastically when there is food around. This is what you want her to do at the door as well.) If she’s sitting nicely (and ONLY if), then you and the guest can make a fuss over her.

There’s a couple of things you can try:

a) total redirection, which may only temporarily fix the problem but could work: the “crash mat”. When someone comes to the door, the response expected no longer is “rush to the door to say hi” but “run to the mat and crash/lie down” as fast as you can (click, treat). Obviously, you need some helpers and lots of practice. Turn the focus of the “Someone’s at the door!” excitement onto YOU and the oh-so-special food reward (liver works well, and in jackpot quantities). Once that sinks in, you’ll have a dog who thinks that when someone’s coming into the house, the fun part of the whole thing is running to her mat and crashing down for you to come to her and give her the bestest treats in the whole dang world, screw the guests… :wink: Then, put her at a heel (you’ll have her total focus, you have the liver, man!) and drill in some polite heel/sit greetings of the guests while they are sitting down and no longer at the door.

b) another option is the Knee-the-dog method. It rarely fails. The dog jumps up, you knee it in the chest – not hard, but enough to surprise it. Yes, it may well fall backwards if it jumps high (one of my aussies is notorious for that…) but it will quickly learn that jumping up is just not worth the effort.

c) a variation on b: keep walking forward right into the jumping dog. Talk about frustrating. You’re doing this jumping up in greeting routine, and you keep falling down, backwards, and being run into, and getting your paws stepped on AND you’re being ignored, and and and! Totally defeats the purpose of the annoying-in-your-face exercise. Dang it! :wink: Again, it’s a form of redirection – if the whole shebang doesn’t work, the dog usually starts offering a behavior that might start paying off. The minute she sits, holy hell you better start pouring your attention on her (your accomplice can, too, but really, YOU should be the one doing the praising – remember, YOU should be her focus, not the guests). Reward the behavior you want, and do all in your power to make the annoying behavior totally NOT produce what SHE wants.

d) since you don’t want her to associate a leash to the exercise, consider a “tab” – a small 6" (inch, not feet!) leash attached to her collar, enough for you to have a handle, or using a “handle” collar. Drill a routine for door-answering when someone comes to the door. With an accomplice, focus the dog’s attention on you (food, man, high-value all the way) – again, the idea is to make YOU more interesting than visitors. Since part of her problem may well also be her jumping on YOU, combine this with the kneeing or walking-into-the-dog technique, then the MINUTE her butt hits the ground into a sit, draw your hands up to your chest, reward the sit, praise, lather rinse repeat, get her into obedience-thinking-mode…

Just a few ideas to get you going. :slight_smile:

My English Setter sits on his haunches and puts his paws on my keyboard tray when I’m sitting at my computer. The only way I can get him to stop is by totally ignoring him - no talking, no eye contact, just pretend he’s invisible. Then he seems very dejected and hangs his head and goes to lay down. I want a happy medium - a dog that’s happy to see me and willing to sit beside me and get petted on the head occassionally. How can I acheive this?


This sounds excellent, it’s punishing, but not scolding; just the natural results of her own bad behaviour. I’ll have to give this a try when they get back from “camp” this week as we are going out of town.

Follow-up Is there a technical term for a dog that can learn any damn trick you choose to teach her, then patently ignores the commands unless bribed exorbitantly? Same dog does this. We even had “go get Daddy a drink” down until she started helping herself to the fridge. The best example of this is “shake”. She knows how to do this trick, and even knows to offer the alternate paw depending on which hand I give her. She just refuses to do the trick, unless you bribe her with something GOOD (think ice cream, cheese, chicken etc…). I call this “spoiled rotten” but am I possibly doing something wrong here?

I had no end of trouble with my pittie wanting my attention when I sat at my computer (first he’d jump on me, then when I trained him out of that he’d headbutt me, then sit and bark at me, etc). Then I stuck his mat under my computer table, and shoved him onto it whenever he got pesky. (He can and does put his giant head on my lap for idle scritches, but I’m okay with that, because he stops if I ignore him.)

This worked so well for him that I adopted the practice of putting him under the closest table whenever he gets fussy. Works a dream.

Another vote for the “knee in the chest” method*. You don’t have to do anything to the dog, just pop your knee up as they jump so that they run into it from their own momentum. I’ve broken many dogs from jumping on me with this method - both my dogs and other people’s. It generally only takes a few repetitions, as long as you consistently do this EVERY SINGLE TIME until they’ve learned. It does take a few tries to get the knack of the timing, but it’s well worth learning this technique.

Once you’ve got the dog broken of the habit of jumping on you and consequently aware that this behavior isn’t really appropriate, then work on not jumping on other people.

If you’re dead set against using her leash (it sounds to me like that’s another training area you really need to work on), then I’d recommend a slip-leash (like your vet uses - they’d probably even loan or give you one). Quick and easy to put on and remove, and will give you a “handle” to control the dog when guests arrive.

Make her sit or lie down and stay before opening the door (have someone else do that), keep her in place while the guests enter (much rewarding of the dog as long as she stays quiet), then after she’s calmed down let her greet the guests as long as she’s calm. Remove her to another room if she gets wound up again, calm her down and try again.

I’ve long since given up on getting guests to ignore dogs or otherwise behave appropriately to solve dog problems - they just won’t do it.

*I recently developed a new technique to use on small dogs. My step-daughter has a very small, very manic dog that could hit you in the stomach while jumping but was so small and fast that the knee thing wouldn’t work. I finally started catching the dog in mid-jump with the flat of my hand and tossing her backwards to the ground. Same effect, just a different way to get there. Only took about five minutes to get her to stop jumping on me. As is often the case, I’m now the only person she won’t jump on because no one else makes her stop.

We have this same issue with our year old yellow lab. When we had him in obedience classes, our trainer suggested that we didn’t use the knee in chest method as it would discourage the dog from coming to us. I’m not certain I agree with that; I’ve used it on other dogs over the years without issue.

However, Higgins is probably the most difficult and stubborn dog I’ve had. He knows his commands (sit, down, sit-stay, down-stay, etc), he’s beautiful on the leash, but in the house? Ha. You tell him to sit, he’ll just look at you. Down? It is to laugh. One of my biggest rules for the dogs is to stay out of the kitchen. It’s dangerous to have them underfoot and I can’t stand mooching. With Higgins, I have to tell him every single time. The commands have to get progressively louder until you’re practically yelling at him. It’s extremely frustrating and sometimes leads to anger, which I try hard not to but it’s difficult when you have a willful 80 puppy who doesn’t want to listen. I don’t raise a hand to him or anything like that but man, is he a pain in the ass.

With the exception of greeting jumps she has no need for the leash at all. I worked her hard as a puppy to be able to keep her under vocal control so we could go for longer hikes without having to fuss with it. She is 100% reliable on her outdoor commands. She will “come by, stay with me, leave it, up, down, hurry up and bring it here” without need for correction. I also dislike the leash method as it makes everything into a either a working environment or a punishment. Currently the leash is employed solely for extended walks, and trips to unfamiliar places that could be dangerous, such as going into town, or the petco. She associates the leash with good things, and knows that she is expected to be on her best behaviour.

Sienna will try a variation on this. Nashiitashii is keen on keeping her out of the kitchen when food prep is going on and she will order her out by name. Sienna will go around the cabinet island and see if the “new dog” will also get ordered out. Once that fails, she sits where she can watch and gives dirty looks until she is given the all clear to come back into the kitchen.

Ah, you confused me with the first posting - I don’t generally associate “can’t get the dog leashed due to wiggling and piddling” with a perfectly behaved dog.

I would point out that, at the moment, “greeting guests” SHOULD BE a working environment. She needs to be worked in this situation until she has learned to use her best behaviour - something she is obviously not doing now.

No one is talking about keeping her on leash forever - just until she learns how to behave. You can easily keep the association “leash = good things” by rewarding her while she’s on leash, as long as she behaves with your guests. That’s also why I suggested using a different type of leash than the one you normally use - to keep the “going somewhere fun” association with her regular harness/leash setup, as well as remove the “takes too long to leash” problem for unexpected guests.

At any rate, you don’t have to use a leash since that seems to be a problem for you. A leash just makes it easier. It does sound like you will need to use some sort of physical control until she learns the desired behavior, since you’ve already established that neither her perfect vocal control nor other auditory methods work in this situation. That could be removing her to another location or holding her down without a leash or whatever, as long as you enforce the concept of “good greeting behavior = calm and not jumping”.

What are you saying to her when you want her to stop jumping? Since she knows “down” means “lie down,” you cannot use “down” as a command in this situation. As Minnie Luna said, you have to use something else - preferably “off.”

This is REALLY hard for humans to learn, for some reason. I have been trying to teach my mom to use it for a few years. My dog doesn’t jump often but when she does mom says “down down down off off down down…” and everyone is just all confused. Doesn’t help.

Loads of good advice here, tho. Good luck!

It’s good that you’ve figured out how to establish negative enforcement to eliminate undesired behavior - now you have to establish positive reinforcement which will shape desired behaviors. It can be as simple as making a point to praise your dog lavishly when he is acting in the desired way.

If you have trouble consistently praising desired behavior (ie, because you don’t react fast enough) some people enjoy “clicker training” (AKA operant conditioning) because it creates a great deal of focus on the part of the owner to identify and react quickly to desired behaviors. Also, the “clicker” can be carried easily and thus praise can be doled out at a distance.

I have never clicker trained a dog – only a horse, which being a prey animal has a slightly different psychology – but it is interesting how it makes you really watch and observe your animal. You also become very aware of your own behavior, in case you accidentally praise the wrong thing, thereby establishing the wrong behavior (true story: I was trying to teach my horse to touch its nose to a target, but taught it to lick the target instead. sigh). Some people think the best thing about this training method is that it “trains the trainer” even moreso than the dog.

You can find books on the subject in the library.

She only does this if I interrupt our normal routine of: open door and let her out to pee, then greet the now bouncy dog. Piddling is rare, and only happens if I’ve been gone a long time. She is used to being off leash for potty runs, getting the leash out means something else to her and the combined excitement, confusion, and extra time waiting to get out while I get her in harness is on the rare occasion too much for her to hold it.

True, which is why I was looking for for methods such as Elenfair suggested since I cannot seem to get the “no Jump” command to stick in her head, despite her rather wide repertoire of doggy skills. I don’t disagree with the effectiveness of the leash training method, only that it would be running counter to everything I’ve already established. With the exception of the jumping (in which she seems to lose her self control for a few minutes) she does an excellent job of obeying all verbal commands.

We use “no jump”. :slight_smile:

Gotcha now. Not a problem with putting her on leash, it’s a problem with certain unusual circumstances.

Yah, Elenfair’s methods should work well.

I would again caution against using a method that depends on guests to behave a certain way. You can train with a friend who’s agreed to help, but IME, the minute someone else drops by all bets are off again. Having friends help is a great way to train, but you need a method that doesn’t depend on guest behavior. Otherwise, everytime you think you’ve got the problem licked, someone mucks it up by not following the script.

Good luck! Sounds like you’ve got a great dog.

'Nother vote for the knee.

I have a 105-lb German shepherd and needed to break him young before he hurt someone. I raised m knee up, didn’t hurt him, but knocked him off balance a bit and confused the living daylight out of him (which I later discovered was just his demeanor) and the habit stopped within a few days.

He now only jumps if you ask or purposely excite him.

I think it’s important for guests (friends likeredtail mentioned) to interact with your pet…how else are they going to learn? My dog had a problem with the submissive urination anytime anyone new came to the house. He even got the UPS guy’s new boots :frowning: The more unfamiliar but willing friend, the best!

I read in a training guide for shepherds to ignore the dog and ask your guests to ignore the dog and it cleared up in a mater of a couple weeks.

A verbal command along with it always helps! Best of luck!