January is Train Your Dog Month! Although it’s wonderful to be greeted by an exuberant pooch when you come home after a long day at work, a 100-pound Labrador leaping up for licks can be a bit much. Many dogs jump on people when they’re excited, and it’s often inadvertently reinforced. Teach your dog not to use their legs as pogo sticks by following these three steps.
Step 1: Remain calm when greeting your dog
We know it’s tough, but abandon the high-pitched baby talk when coming home and greeting your pup. Your enthusiastic greeting only serves to rile up their excitement, so remain calm during greetings.
Step 2: Ignore your dog until all four paws are on the ground
When you come home, the only thing your dog wants is your attention—negative or positive. Scolding, yelling at, or shoving your dog away only reinforces their jumping behavior, as any sort of attention is rewarding to your pooch. Instead, completely ignore your dog until they have “four on the floor.” As soon as all four of your dog’s paws are planted on the ground, greet them calmly. They’ll quickly learn they receive attention only when they’re standing still.
Step 3: Train a desired behavior during greetings
Once your dog has made the connection between remaining calm and greeting you, you can train them to perform a desired behavior before being greeted. For example, many people train their dogs to sit before being greeted. After your dog has settled down and has four paws on the ground, ask them to sit, and reward them with praise and attention for their appropriate behavior. After all, your dog can’t jump on you if they’re sitting.
Year-round training is important for keeping your bond with your pooch strong, and for warding off problem behaviors, cognitive dysfunction, and obesity. Before engaging in a rigorous training program, ensure your four-legged pal is healthy with a routine wellness exam—contact us to schedule your pet’s appointment.