Laura’s friend Jim gives Sasha a treat for sitting quietly as he chats with his sister Nicole.
A great many dogs have the tendency to jump up on people during greeting. They rush through doors ahead of us and shove their noses in their bowls before they’ve even made it to the floor. How pushy is that!
Teach your dog patience. Have her remain seated when visitors approach. Make her wait at the door or as her bowl is lowered to the floor before releasing her. Think of the many occasions you might require impulse control from your dog, waiting at the curb before crossing the street, when putting on her leash… the possibilities are endless!
Training It… One Example – Meeting People on the Street
Too often, when people stop on the street, perhaps to chat with a neighbor, their dog is left to conduct herself politely without any instruction from her handler. When things go south and the pooch gets impatient, then the treats come out as hush money. This is reinforcing the absolutely wrong behavior!
As you approach someone on the street with whom you’d like to stop and chat, stop a bit short of them, step on your leash (control position *), and ask your dog to sit. Reinforce her with little treats for sitting quietly as you chat with your neighbor. Gradually, over time, you will put greater distance between the treats until at some point you needn’t use treats at all and you won’t even have to cue the sit — she’ll have learned the appropriate behavior when stopping to visit with the neighbors.
* For control position, hold the leash’s handle in one hand, letting the middle of the leash drop to the ground. Now step on the leash at a distance from your dog so that she can sit or stand comfortably but cannot jump up.
Laura Garber, CPDT-KA
Behavior Manager, Pennsylvania SPCA
Laura believes strongly in strengthening the bond between human and companion animal. For this reason, she regards training as an exercise in building relationship rather than obedience. Such an approach promises greater understanding and symbiosis within our family packs.