A well-behaved dog is a dog that has learned foundation skills or basic commands that serve as tools for development of impulse control. Dogs that lack impulse control can be dangerous, causing a myriad of problems. For example, your dog’s jumping up could frighten a child or injured someone holding a hot cup of liquid. Your dog’s jumping is not always “friendly” and is often considered “socially pushy” by both people and other higher ranking dogs.
DOGS DO WHAT WORKS FOR THEM. Behavior is always under the influence in experiencing positive or negative consequences. It is our job to guide our dogs in making good choices.
EXAMPLE: A good application of integrating a basic “sit” and “impulse control” into everyday interactions is by taking advantage of teachable moments. Let your dog learn how to get the attention and petting he wants in social situations. A good solution for dogs that jump up to greet people would be to condition or “shape” a more acceptable alternative behavior such as to sit politely to greet people. When visitors arrive at the front door, be PROACTIVE by keeping a leash nearby for quick access and placing it on your dog before opening the door. This PREVENTS your dog from escaping while keeping jumping up from being “practiced to perfection!” Instruct family members to approach the door without fanfare; dogs follow pack behavior! Step back several feet from your visitors while keeping the dog by your side on a shortened leash. Instruct visitors to ignore your dog until you’ve observed that he is calm enough to meet-and-greet. Ask your visitors not to pet your dog until he has OFFERED either a polite, calm sit or lie down position—WITHOUT YOUR PROMPTING HIM. If your dog does not offer a sit or down, that’s OK; respect your dog’s personal space in social situations. Dogs are not always comfortable being petted by everyone they meet. An unsolicited sit indicates that he is more comfortable in a particular situation. As soon as your dog offers a sit or lies down, ask your visitors to pet calmly under his chin or on his chest to help him remain calm and sitting. Petting the top of the dog’s head often elicits the jumping response! And with some dogs, it can be perceived as a threatening gesture.
Remember: You set the precedent in teaching your dog to be polite. Your dog should always sit or lie down before you pet him also! Soon your dog will be resigned to choosing more appropriate and reliable behaviors. Try not restraining your dog whenever you have the time and opportunity to train him. Crates are wonderful, but the sooner your dog has accumulated many opportunities of being rewarded for polite behavior, the sooner you will have a
SIT-STAY KID’S PLAY! It never fails to amaze me just how quickly and proficiently a dog can learn many basic command behaviors through play! This is also Kid-Friendly Training at its best! Speed up obtaining quick, enthusiastic responses by rewarding your dog with something he loves! While playing with your dog’s Frisbee or tennis ball for example, you can also teach “DROP IT,” “TAKE IT,” and “FETCH” as a bonus!
IS IT A DOG OR A BUCKING BRONCO? If you feel the need to “lasso” your dog whenever you need to physically handle him, then you will benefit from teaching your dog to be more cooperative as you handle your dog throughout your day. One of the key aspects of comprehensive socialization and temperament training is teaching your dog to be tolerant of handling by coping with minor stress without feeling panicked, threatened, or defensive. Create a more compliant dog when grooming, administering medication, or checking for a pebble in his paw or other health concerns, all without his becoming a Bucking Bronco with sharp teeth! Teaching your dog to accept and even to enjoy handling may inspire you to dress him up for Halloween!