The almost universal request: How do I get my dog to stop jumping on me.

Actively do nothing approach.

The almost universal request:

How do I get my dog to stop jumping on me and other people? When I have a new client coming in for their first class, I have them prepare the “notebook.” The “notebook” is a place to write down homework assignments, class definitions and questions that they may have for me during the span of their canine, handler education. The first homework assignment, which is to be written before attending the first class is entitled “tell me about your dog.” What goes well, what does not go so well. What problems are your facing with your dog currently? Write down your goals for you and your dog. Under the category of tell me about your dog and goals is one of the most commonplace requests or stated problems.  That problem is  “how do I get my dog to stop jumping on ME?”

Why does he do it?

Let’s start with the average pup six (6) months or younger and he/she is jumping on your excitedly. Then it happens, submissive urination. Why is the pup urinating now? It is not urination per se as in releiving themselves. It is submissive urination. In the urine are hormones and pheromones that are saying in an olfactory manner, “I am a stupid young puppy and please don’t eat me.”

What do I do?

What are you to do? I suggest doing almost nothing! Do NOT scold or spank your pup. This is totally contraindicated. You see a dog communicates primarily through body language. They are becoming experts at reading your body language, yes it is filtered through a dog’s reality. So, if your were to get on his case, and become angry or frustrated your body language and verbal “TONE” is saying your want MORE submission which of course is the opposite of what your want. Remember the pup’s goal is pack approval. If you give him/her attention, even negative attention, the pup will continue their current behavior. So, do nothing actively, stop all forward motion, stand up straight, and turn your back on the pup do not even give them eye-to-eye contac. Totally disconnect from your puppy. When and as your see they are calming, give a low toned, slow barely audible praise. You must act calm and somewhat aloof. This will calm and reassure the puppy. Expressing that you will not eat him/her and are patient with one that does not know all the rules yet. Then gently carefully move away from that spot, trying to keep the puppy out of the urine. LOL  As, the pup calms bend your knees and squat down to lower your eye level. Knees not so good? Sit in a chair as the object here is to lower your eye level. Dogs and puppys determine dominance primarily by eye level. Do not bend OVER the puppy. Keep up the timing, tone, and tempo of your praise being careful not to reexcite your puppy. The timing
of your action is when your see and hear the puppy calming, the tone
is low and barely audible and finally the tempo is slow. Give your praise slowly elongating your words. Such as goooooood puppy, wonderfullllllllllllllllll puppy, sooooooo goooooood. I find myself saying the sooooooo gooood repetitively. Remember it is not what your say but HOW your say it. A dog does not understand speech. It is an echoing sound to them. However, they defiantly learn certain sounds. When my beloved canine companion Jack, U-GOCH Kuventres Jumpin’ Jack Flash UDX4 OM5 RAE8 CGC L1 was still with us he had a list of over 65 sounds,”words” he would recognize and respond to! That is called our Metaspeak. As your puppy calms even more, let’s say close to or totally back to their normal demeanor you should now immediately take the pup to his triggering mechanism. This ends the puppy jumping on your part and moves into House Breaking.

The adult dog

In the case of the older dog, 6 months to adult, jumping on you is much the same as puppy training. For this age bracket your probably are not going to get submissive urination. It can and does happen in cases like that, “generalized” instruction is not recommended. This is where truly a one-on-one session with a knowledgeable trainer/behaviorist would be the way to go. The goal of the dog is the same as that of the puppy, pack approval/acceptance both giving it and getting it. They are communicating to you how happy they are to see, smell* you. As in the puppy behavior modification yelling at, giving machine gun commands, becoming angry or frustrated is NOT going to get you the response you want. So actively do nothing.

Actively do nothing

The following procedure is very passive in nature and takes a little to a lot of time for each repetition of this procedure. It is simple and effective with all but the most exuberant of dogs. Let’s go to the beginning of this problem behavior. You enter the house after being gone for a period. As you make your entrance, your K-9 companion is barking, yelping in excitement, scratching at, or hitting the entrance door! Your response is to stop and carefully reclose the door and wait silently and give the dog some time to settle and begin to desensitize to the situation. This gives him very little positive reinforcement for his current behavior. Not getting positive reinforcement in this case is a form of a correction or negative reinforcement. After the dog settles and becomes quiet, reopen the door.  If you get the same type of behavior as before, again you will carefully close the door making sure not to get him/her in the door. You will wait until he settles a second time and is quiet. This will usually be shorter than the first “correction or negative reinforcement.” Continue with this procedure until he is MUCH calmer on the entrance to your home, apartment etc. I suggest doing it in steps. Tomorrow’s behavior will be more to your approval and the next day even more and so on. Once in,  do not get him excited again by over or incorrectly praising him/her. Simply continue in to the house to a neutral place in your home where your can and must give CALM, WARM, BARELY AUDIBLE sincere praise. If after entering the dog begins to be over exuberant or jumps on you stop all forward motion and turn your back on the dog, do not even have eye-to-eye contact. Completely disconnect from the dog and ignore them until they again become calmer. Again, it should be said that by giving them NO positive reinforcement your are in effect correcting them or applying a negative reinforcement. Yes, it is a very mild correction but with most dogs it is very effective.

Seeing correctly.

Continue with this process until your get the situation in front of the dog so that “the dog” can CLEARLY see where his advantage lies. His advantage goal, as it always has been, is pack approval/acceptance. As they learn this “not jumping” behavior, your body language and tone, timing and tempo will truly be telling your dog he has your approval/acceptance and love.