NO Leapin' Lizards:
Getting Control Of Your Dog'S Jumping Problem
Do you find it necessary to lock Bouncing Bowser in another room before inviting friends and relatives in, so their clothing remains intact and their hips and wrists remain unbroken? Do you walk Raucous Rover at odd hours of the day and night to avoid meeting another living soul on the sidewalk? If so, it sounds like you have a jumping problem.
Jumping problems are most often found with adolescents (dogs 6 - 18 months old); Toy, Terrier and Sporting breeds (Italian Greyhounds, Poodles, Jack Russells, and Labrador Retrievers are notorious jumpers); and just plain dominant, belligerent dogs (the Rottie that puts his feet on your shoulders to better stare you in the eye or the Pit Bull that uses you like a basketball backboard).
Peak jumping behavior is observed around the high points of your dog's day -- mealtime, your Homecoming, walk time (you pick up the leash and the bouncing begins), out on the walk itself, and when friends and relatives come to call. Calm, consistent training can solve this problem. The proper amount of exercise for your dog's breed type would be of great help, too. Lack of exercise leads to an out-of-control whirlwind that could not focus on a command if he wanted to.
WHAT TO DO:
For the slow-learner, jumping set-ups are in order. On a weekend or vacation day, arrange for a friend, neighbor, or relative to ring your doorbell every 10-15 minutes for several hours. Each time, put your dog on a leash, place him in a down or sit-stay and open the door. (Sometimes, giving the dog a place such as a small foyer rug, helps him to focus on his job -- "go to your place and lie down.") Your visitor can give your pup a treat or a tickle if he is behaving but would ignore him completely if he were not.
Once the dog is under control, the visitor leaves, only to return again in another 10-15 minutes. This goes on until Rover understands that his job is to stay put until he is told to do otherwise.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
Remember that your dog is your friend and companion, there is no need to knee him in the chest, squeeze his front paws until he is frantic (By the way, this often leads to a more serious behavior problem -- mouthing.), or stepping on his back feet -- solutions you may come across in other literature. By teaching him the acceptable behavior and rewarding him for carrying it out, you become a fair, humane leader, the benevolent dictator every dog needs.
Jacque Lynn Schultz
Companion Animal Services
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