Jumping and barking are both highly self-reinforcing behaviors. In plain English that means that the activity is something a dog really enjoys, it feels good and hence the dog will be happy to bark and jump again and again. Correcting such a behavior is very difficult, mostly because it so easily turns into a game. From the dog’s point of view:
- I see someone approach or the doorbell rings!
- I bark and leap to get access.
- My human says: “NO JUMPING!” “QUIET!” “BE GOOD!”
- The leash gets tight or I get yanked and held by the collar.
- I finally sit…maybe
- Human says: “Good boy”…or something along those lines or even gives me a treat.
- Next time we do the same thing
If you don’t want your dog to jump and/or bark for greetings, prevent it by being proactive:
- Don’t allow the dog to dash ahead of you to get access; drop treats on the ground or feed at nose level so that all four paws stay on the ground.
- Once the dog is calm, allow an approach while continuing to reward calm behaviors.
- Ensure that you, the handler of the dog, is the feeder so you can guide the dog’s behavior effectively.
- If your dog cannot be calm move further away from the action.
- Keep all greetings calm, including your own comings and goings and discourage excited behaviors.
This subject is likely top of mind for many people as the festive season approaches and we have more guests coming and going than usual. Practicing these steps with your dog will not only ensure polite holiday greetings but also a calm canine throughout the year!
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[…] When I walk around the city I see all these dogs trained with different approaches. Putting aside the sad fact that there are way too many pinch collars and choke chains around there is an encouraging number of dogs who are taught with reward based training… or let’s say: a version of reward based training. Here is where I still see that there is a missing link of understanding at least in the way I see reward based training really working. Read More > […]Pingback by Rethinking Reward Based Training | Lifestyle Okanagan Blog on June 12, 2017 at 4:25 pm