Dogs love to be in your face or in your lap if they can. Despite how you feel about it. They also will do anything to get attention from us. However, no one likes an ill mannered dog. This can be from your dog constantly barking, howling, tearing things up, getting into things they shouldn’t, and more. Especially if your dog jumps up on your guests, your furniture, or steps on your freshly cleaned floors. This can easily corrected but if your dog has been doing this for some time, can be hard to get them to change their minds. However, with enough time and patience, anything can be accomplished. Remember, positive reinforcement is stronger than being aggressive or yelling at the dog.
First off, if you do let your dog jump up on you, stop letting them. This is important because if your dog jumps on you, they will jump on guests or other family members. Second, if you want them to stay off your furniture, lap, or bed, you need to be strict about it and keep up on it. Once you start to slack off, the dog will pick up on this and take advantage of the situation.
What you’ll need to train the command off
You won’t need much, only a few things. If you have been clicker training your dog (highly recommended) you will want a clicker as well as a leash, high value dog treats, and a clean distraction free environment for your dog to learn. You’ll want to introduce distractions and other people/dogs at a later date and time to reinforce the command.
Remember, the importance behind the command off is to keep the dog off of people, furniture, or carpet/flooring where they shouldn’t be. As long as you keep to those generic guide lines, your dog will understand them soon enough. It’s important that your dog knows the command sit before teaching off. The reason for this is “sit’ is a great way to reset your dog after getting them out of the place you don’t want them. It also teaches the dog to look to us for the next command.
How to teach your dog the off command
There are multiple ways to teach the dog off. The easiest and simplest way is when they jump up on you, say Off and turn your back to them. When they stop jumping on you, use the clicker, give them lots of praise and reward them. If they continue to jump on you, take a few steps away and say off again. Repeat this behavior until the dog understands. You can also tell them to sit after you save off and turn your back. This then gets their attention off jumping on you and then listening to you.
You will know your dog better than anyone else and if you recognize that the dog is coming to you to jump up on you, simply raise a knee and prevent the dog from jumping on you. You will have to be careful with this method however as if you time it wrong, you could end up kneeing your dog and possibly hurting them. Also, if you have a bigger dog, be careful about your balance as they can still knock you over.
If the above method doesn’t work, it may be best for you to use a leash. Get your dog into a relaxed position and put your foot on the leash. Give them enough slack so that they can get up but if they try to jump, they won’t be able to. Once they are in the relaxed position, do whatever it takes to get them to try and jump up on you. Whether it’s a treat in the hand or giving them attention. When they try to jump say off followed by sit and keep your foot firmly on the leash. It might take them a few tries, but they will eventually get the picture and either sit or quit trying to jump. This is when you use the clicker and offer them the treat with lots of praise.
The above training can also help with when they are on a furniture. Simply perform the leash training with them sitting next to the couch. When they are calm, try and get them up on the couch. Yes, this sounds like a bait and switch but it will help the dog understand the command off.
If your dog jumps on your guests, you will have to simply keep a leash by the door and let your guests know that you’ll need just a minute to get ready. Then when they come in, do the same training with the dog as if it was just you and them.
Additional Training Tips
It’s best to keep training sessions around 3 to 5 minutes when starting out. You don’t want to over exert your dog. They do have a limit to how long they will pay attention to you. During the training peroid, it’s important to keep their focus only on you. That is why it’s best to do training in a distraction free environment in the beginning.
You want your dog to succeed and no matter what it takes, help them do this. If you can, go out of your way to make their success a reality. You will gain nothing by not helping the dog learn the command. Don’t set them up to fail. Failure means no learning and no treats.
It’s important to be patient with your dog. Just like a child, it takes time to learn something new, especially since they can’t speak the same language as us. Some dog breeds learn faster than others. Just don’t give up on them.
It’s important to keep the training ongoing. It’s not enough that your dog exhibits the understanding of the command but that they continue to follow it no matter where you’re at. Take them to the dog park or a friends house and do the training there.
Treats are a great way to get your dogs attention but you will eventually want to wean them off of treats. Slowly replace treats with lots of praise when they perform the command correctly.
If the dog doesn’t listen or obey the command, do your best to not get mad or upset with the dog. You should never hit your dog either. You want to build a bond with your dog versus having them fear you. Dogs are people pleasers and will do whatever it takes to achieve this.