Today we are talking about jumping struggles. Do you have a dog that jumps on people?
Between 80% & 90% of all dogs that come to training classes jump on people. Most people think teaching a dog not to jump is the solution. That makes sense, but people don’t understand that that is only one-quarter of the overall solution.
Think about jumping as being like a pie.
In one quadrant of the pie, we have the skill of keeping its feet on the ground. Most people know and understand to teach this part. That is where they focus all of their training.
But the other three parts of the pie are missing. The skill of keeping your feet on the ground is the last part of the pie.
So let’s fill in some of these blanks for you.
This part of the pie is the number 1 reason dogs misbehave. And that is a lack of calmness. If you think about it for a second, it is easy to recognize when your dog jumps; it is not calm. When people tell me “jumping is random” or “not consistent.” It is a lack of calmness that causes that inconsistency. But it is also a cause for all the dogs who are very predictable with their jumping. When your dog does not jump, it is calmer than when it does jump. So all dogs need to learn calmness as a part of our no jumping strategy.
The second missing part of the pie is disengagement. Disengagement is your dog’s ability to turn away from things it values. It could be you have a dog that is a hyper greeter, and they are super thrilled to make friends. It might be your dog launches at a person from 6 feet away. It might be they go up to the person and jump. But it also might be the person has a ball, a toy, a chew, or a special treat your dog wants in their hand. They can not turn away from what they want.
And the 3rd part of the pie is Self-Control. Self-Control is your dog’s ability to control itself in the presence of things it values. Self-control is different than you controlling the dog with a cue like sit. Yes, we can keep a dog from jumping by telling it to sit, but the dog is not practicing self-control.
So here is the good news for Jumping struggles!
Your dog can learn calmness, disengagement, self-control, and the skill of keeping its feet on the ground through fun games. You would start by playing these games Off The Job, away from the situation in which your dog jumps. Once your dog is good at the games, you then play them in situations your dog may jump.
No matter where you are starting. No matter how big or little the jumping struggle is. Start playing games that fit each category of the pie and consistently apply them to your “On The Job” situations. You will see a massive difference in that jumping struggle.
In the meantime, you want to do anything you can to prevent your dog from getting better at jumping.
It might be you:
• Confine your dog in a crate, pen, etc.
• Use a leash that helps you keep your dog a distance from people that your dog can not jump.
If you have not yet downloaded the seven Free days of Polite Greeting – Stop Jumping tips, strategies, and games, click this link to access them. We love giving you a fantastic start to this training.