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How to stop your puppy from growing up into a dog that jumps on people!

When we think about how dogs interpret our communication, we need to identify that we give off a lot of body language when we interact with our furry friends. We tend to increase our level of communication and interaction when the dog does a behaviour that we find undesirable by yelling and increasing our level of activity directed at the dog. From the dog’s point of view, this is his humans increasing the interaction level and that must be a good thing right??? And, if I (the dog) get loads more interaction when I do this particular behaviour, it’s so worth doing it again. Therein lies the fail in communication between the two species.

It would be a much easier process for us as humans to start the rehearsal of not jumping up from the time we bring home our new puppies. When we initially bring home puppy, when it gets excited the front paws leave the floor but we humans don’t identify this and so we continue to talk and touch the puppy which then reinforces to the puppy that jumping up is a desired behaviour and will elicit praise and attention.

Usually we put a lot of research into what breed of dog we want to purchase to become part of the family, and in particular what character traits they possess so that we can plan how the dog will fit into the family unit. What we don’t usually think about is making a behaviour plan to work to from the time we decide on what type of breed and personality we are seeking. Most of us try to source the best breeder to provide us with a puppy with a sound temperament and good health so imagine if we put the same amount of research and effort into making a plan that the entire family had agreed to work to consistently to ensure the puppy had the best behaviour start to it’s new family life also.

If we could identify the behaviour of the puppy starting the jumping up process from the start of the relationship, the very first time it rehearsed the behaviour, we could simply wait for the puppy to put all four feet back on the ground before patting the puppy and very quickly the puppy would realise that it never gets attention or patting for the jumping up behaviour. Then if we asked all of our family members and friends to be consistent with this message, we wouldn’t have a jumping up problem that starts to cause issues as the puppy grows into an adult dog. It’s not rocket science but simple common sense. Jumping up gains no attention what so ever but as soon as the four feet hit the ground and the puppy has maintained stability for at least 3 to 5 seconds, the praise immediately comes either via big pats, verbal praise or even sometimes a food reward.

Now, if you were a puppy and at a very impressionable time in your life for learning, which message would you take and replicate - Jumping up gets no interaction or four feet on the ground gets attention?

If you already have a dog that jumps or you're struggling to get your puppy to stop, you may benefit from one of our classes or private lessons. See here for more information

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