Why is Teaching Polite Greeting
Everyone thought it was so cute when the
puppy jumped up! Now that the puppy is a grown up dog, people
get angry when he jumps up. What happened? Unfortunately,
jumping to greet is one of those places where natural dog
etiquette and human etiquette clash! In the dog world, jumping
up to greet is a polite sign of enthusiasm, welcome, and even
appeasement. Of course, to humans, having a 60 lb. dog jumping
on them when they come in the door turns out to be less than
pleasing. Added to that is the fact that many dogs were reinforced
for jumping up throughout their puppy hood, because they were
small and fuzzy and everything they did was cute. Now theyre
big enough to really pack a wallop when they jump, and suddenly
no one likes it anymore! The sad result is that many dogs
end up getting punished for showing their natural affection
when they greet people. No fair! Open Paw does not recommend
the use punishment to resolve the problem behavior of jumping
up on people. Punishment is counterproductive, unnecessary,
and cruel: the dog is only trying to show that he likes you
and is glad happy to see you. Furthermore, because jumping
is one of the dogs ways to try to appease your anger,
sometimes punishing the dog ends up making him jump more!
How Does Polite Greeting Work?
Open Paws basic philosophy is to always ask yourself,
If this is wrong, or bad behavior, what would be right?
What would I like to see in place of the unwanted behavior?
In this case, the unwanted behavior is jumping up. The most
effective, simplest solution is to teach the dog the right
way to greet people.
In this exercise youll learn a much more productive
way to teach the dog to sit or stand quietly to greet people.
We use reward training to teach dogs that sitting or standing
quietly gets attention and a kibble reward, while jumping
up means no attention and no kibble (in fact, it makes the
potential kibble and attention go away)! This works in several
ways. First, it works with the dogs natural instincts
(How do I get what I want? Jumping isnt doing
it, let me try something else Ill sit down while
I think about it. Hey, sitting works!) instead of against
them (My person is angry! Id better try to make
it up to her by showing how much I love and respect her! Now
shes even angrier! Better jump harder!). Second,
youre not only letting them know what doesnt work
(jumping), but youre also letting them know, at the
same time, what does work (sitting or standing quietly). You
give them an easy alternate behavior to put in place of the
jumping. Dogs are very efficient in their behavior: if something
works to get them what they want, theyll do it more
and more. If something doesnt work, theyll do
it less and less. Thus, the more times you repeat this exercise,
the more quickly the dog will snuff out his jumping routine.
How do I teach my dog to greet
DO work regularly on the sit command with your
puppy or dog, and always reward her with play, affection,
DO tether your dog on a 6-8 lead to a banister or other
sturdy place and approach your dog; as you come up to your
dog, say Off.
DO walk away from your dog and ignore him for at least 30
seconds if she jumps up, barks, or paws.
DO reward your dog with a piece of kibble and attention if
she stays standing or sits.
DO ignore or walk away from your dog if she jumps up on you
at any point in your training, and reward a sit with attention,
kibble, or the continuation of the training session or game.
DO gradually make yourself more interesting and exciting when
your dog has gotten very good at standing still as you approach.
Talk excitedly to her at first, and when she is good at standing
still at that approach, jump around a bit or hold a kibble
or toy in your hand.
But I like my dog to jump up
some of the time.
You may, of course, do what you like with your dog. Keep in
mind, though, that your dog will be meeting other people,
and that most people do not like to be jumped on by any animals.
There may also be times when it wont be convenient for
your to be jumped on when youre coming through
the door with several bags of groceries, for instance or when
Fido has muddy paws. It is also fairly easy, once youve
taught your dog to sit or stand quietly to greet people, to
teach him a cue that means that he may give a hug. Then the
person greeting your dog can decide whether or not she wants
to be jumped on.
Arent you making the dog
unnatural if you teach him not to jump up?
Dogs are very context-specific in their learning. If we teach
them to sit or stand quietly to greet people that does not
mean that they will no longer jump in other situations. Theyll
still jump around quite joyfully and naturally when they play
they just wont knock over your grandmother when
she comes to visit.
Isnt it faster to knee
the dog in the chest to stop him from jumping up?
Probably not. Punishment in this situation
tends to work against your goal. Since jumping is a way, in
the dogs world, to try to make up with you
when youre angry, punishing the dog often makes her
jump up even more. Further, Open Paw is dedicated to using
the least amount of aversive techniques possible in training.
Punishment is almost always unnecessary, and often counterproductive.
Plus it is important to remember, your dog is not being intentionally
naughty when he greets you with exuberance, he
is trying to be friendly. Kneeing your dog is the chest is
quite a rude was to respond to a friendly (albeit misguided)
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