Jumping UP (you, your children, your guests)
Jumping ON (the furniture, or tables ‘what’s for dinner?‘)
Jumping OVER (fences)
The behavior never disappears as fast as we would like. We have to remember how many weeks, months, or even years that your dog has been jumping. Please devote some patient, calm training time to this problem before you expect to see improvement. Reward every small step of success.
In the teaching phase, a big part of communicating to the dog that we don’t want them to jump up to greet people is actually preventing the jump from happening. To do this, we must have a training handle - a leash. But you say, ‘my dog isn’t ON leash when she jumps.‘ This is where the people training comes in.
We know there are certain temptations that are just too great for our dogs, and in those situations they always jump up, no matter how often or how loud we have screamed ‘NO‘ or ‘DOWN!‘ In those circumstances we must think one step ahead and remember to put the dog on leash immediately.
Speedy always greets you at the front door with any eye level leap as you step in at 5:30. If there is another family member usually home, have them attach a leash to her regular buckle collar (no special training collar needed) before you are due to arrive. If there is no one to help you, keep a leash with you or in a handy place (like the mail box) so you can reach with just your hands in the door and put it on before you completely enter.
As you step in, you are going to put your foot on the leash so that if the dog tries to jump up she can barely bounce her front feet off the ground before she feels a tug on her collar. You are going to say in a calm, quiet voice ‘OFF‘ every time her front feet leave the floor.
Loud, excited voices actually stimulate some dogs, and you are going to say ‘OFF‘ as your correction command because we may have sent mixed messages to our dogs by saying ‘NO!‘ for too many different things, or ‘DOWN‘ as in lie down and for jumping correction.
Teach your dog an alternative behavior for jumping up to greet people, by having the dog SIT when approaching friends or family members. The dog will quickly realize that she is restricted from jumping, and that trying to jump up is only resulting in collar tugs. When the dog is not receiving any feedback, no pleasant eye contact, and no touching, they will usually rock back into a sit. Try to time the ‘sit‘ command just as they are tucking their bottoms. Then praise them, pet them, give them a treat, act like it’s the best thing they’ve ever done.
You should set up practice situations several times a week to work on ‘OFF‘ and ‘SIT.‘ Have the neighborhood kids help you by having them come to the door every 10 minutes on a Saturday afternoon to give Speedy a treat for not jumping up. Or you could walk around the block and have planned for neighbors to approach you frequently so that you can use these encounters for training. Be sure to quickly place your foot on the leash, and command ‘sit‘ as people walk up, or ‘˜OFF‘ if Speedy tries to jump.
After two to three weeks of patient, diligent work, you can move from the teaching phase to the correction phase. If the dog starts to jump you should command ‘OFF.‘ If the dog doesn’t immediately put his front feet back on the floor, you may gently but swiftly push down on the dog’s shoulders to knock his front feet down. Then tug upon the collar as your command ‘sit.‘ Immediately praise with ‘good sit.‘
There are other methods for correcting the jumping dog; most of them are negative. One book details grabbing the dog’s front paws and squeezing, another says to knee the dog in the chest and knock him over backwards. I know of a dog that was once friendly that became fearfully aggressive after multiple foot squeezing episodes for just trying to welcome people in the only way she knew. I also know of a large puppy that was kneed over backwards on a deck and shattered a joint in his hind leg. Please don’t assume that everything you read in dog training books is correct or humane.
Jumping on things like furniture (if you don’t want the dog to share your resting areas), or putting their front feet on tables or counter tops to steal food, is also corrected in the teaching phase with the leash.
If the dog is dragging a leash while in the house with you, and she jumps up on that forbidden white velvet chair, you can pop the leash gently and command ‘OFF.‘ Then reward with praise and an immediate treat. The leash is important, because you are not pouncing at, or grabbing for the dog. The leash allows you to stand back and motivate the dog to get off the chair on their own. The pop on the leash should not be forceful enough to drag them off the furniture, but urge them to get off. You voice should be calm and pleasant; yelling at the dog may make Speedy cower and actually clamp to the furniture in fear.
All family members must be consistent in their expectations for the dog. If one person likes the dog to jump up to lay beside them, and another corrects the dog for the same behavior, then shortly you have a confused canine probably in need of long-term therapy.
The dog that jumps on tables, etc., to steal food should be put in training situations on a daily basis for a week or two. Place a strong smelling, tasty treat on the table. Speedy should be brought to the area on leash. Point to the food and say ‘off.‘ Stand back and hold the leash or put your foot on it to correct for attempts at jumping. Once the dog is wise, drop the leash, and hide close by. If the dog attempts to jump, command ‘off,‘ step closer to the dog and say ‘sit‘ and praise. Re ward with a treat from your pocket.
You can also booby trap things on the table, like a sandwich with lots of Tabasco sauce, or a treat tied with thread to a shaker can (empty soda can with pennies inside and the hole taped shut.) The rattle of the can startles some dogs, and also lets you know that in the other room Speedy is engaged in some sneaky snacking.
I only know of one consistent way to correct a fence jumper - let the fence do the correcting. FIDO SHOCK is a hot wire kit sold through garden and pet supply stores. You can attach this wire to any fence with insulators, or on shorter stakes just inside the fence. It emits a mildly uncomfortable shock to all of those that touch it, so turn it off when the kids are outside, or you’re doing
Dogs that jump fences have a very short life expectancy. They are often attacked by stray dogs, or killed by cars. FIDO SHOCK is very reasonably priced, uses pennies of electricity every month, and corrects your dog when you can’t stand there to make sure they don’t jump the fence. It can also be used to protect flower beds and vegetable gardens.
* pitchick says: Pit bulldogs should not be trusted to stay inside a fence, with or without an electric wire or shock collar. Covered pens or tethering are the only responsible ways to keep these dogs as they are highly tolerable of such minor pain and as said, escape is irresponsible and is likely to lead to damage of one's own or other's property and/or shortened life span.