Teaching Junior Some Patience to Settle Him Down and Stop His Jumping Up

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 7, 2015


Junior is a one-year-old male White Lab / St Bernard mix who gets excited and jumps up on people, doesn’t recall and pulls on the leash.

When I met Junior he repeatedly tried to jump up on me before I could make it through the front door. I applied a technique I developed a few years ago twice and after that Junior didn’t even try to jump up again. I suggested that his guardian have a few friends over that he would normally jump up on and show them how to apply the same technique. Usually this stops the jumping up within a day or two.

After discussing the situation with his guardian, I learned he didn’t really have much structure in his life. I also observed his guardian petting the dog pretty much non stop. I always tell my clients to consider petting their dog as how they pay them. While petting the dog for being nearby isn’t wrong, its much more advantageous to pet the dog for a reason; sitting down, recalling or laying down.

By petting the dog when it engages in actions or behaviors we like, we can help communicate to the dog that those things are rewarded. Over time, this causes the dog to learn to repeat these desired actions to get our attention rather than jumping up on us.

When his guardian excused herself to go upstairs to use the bathroom, I noticed that junior raced along side and bumped her a bit on the staircase. When she returned I had her sit down then repeat getting up to go upstairs so I could show her how to get the dog to wait for her to get to the top before heading up himself.

While his guardian started out strong, she turned her back not he dog and didn’t keep an eye on him as she started on the stairs. As a result the dog thought she was no longer asking him to wait and so he started up again until I made a sound to disagree.

I had her repeat the exercise, but this time she watched him and communicated what she wanted with good timing. As a result, Junior waited for her when she asked and only ascended the stairs when called.

Next I showed his guardian how to get him leashed up while the dog remained calm. Junior’s excited was far more subdued than most of my clients so that part didn’t take long. While it only took a few moments, waiting for your dog to return to a calm state before starting the walk is a huge factor in the type of walk you will have.

Once he stayed completely calm while his guardian retrieved the leash, we moved to the next step, leaving through the door. I showed his guardian how to get him to sit and wait at the door rather than rushing ahead of her or trying to run out the door on his own.

One of Junior’s biggest issues on the walk was a bad habit of getting over excited; lunging and trying to jump up on people he encountered. Once we got outside I showed his guardian how to hold and correct with the leash as well as how to know when the dog was starting to get over excited. Its crucial to stop a dog before it gets too excited. This small step is missed by most people with over excited dogs so they end up pulling the dog along on the walk. Not much fun.

But by using the special twist of the leash for the Martingale collar and applying these new corrections when she saw the signs, his guardian was able to walk him in a nice heel with only some minor corrections.

Shortly after we started our walk, one of Junior’s neighbors came out and were hanging out in their front yard with a young child. I had his guardian cross the street so she could practice correcting Junior near some people before he started to get excited.

As soon as Junior saw the neighbors, he started to get excited but his guardian caught him in time, corrected him and placed him into a sit until he calmed down. Because she reacted with good timing before he got all riled up, Junior’s guardian was able to calm him down and then walk him in front of the neighbors without his normal “going-bananas” behavior.

We continued the walk and ended up running into a guy mowing his lawn. This was an activity that normally provoked a strong response from Junior so I had her cross the street so she could practice walking in front of him. By this point Junior’s guardian’s timing had improved significantly and she was walking him with a confident energy. As a result, Junior walked right by the mower with little reaction.

By the time we finished the session, Junior was showing his guardian much more respect and she was paying him for doing the things she wanted. As you can see in the photo below, the session really wiped Junior out.

Junior 2

It will take some time before these new behaviors become habit, but based on how quickly Junior and his guardian picked things up, it shouldn’t take too long.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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