The Cure for Jumping

Here is Silky Morgan, demonstrating “vertical exercise”.

I have spoken elsewhere about small dogs barking excessively, see Bark Busters. But what about being small dog pogo sticks?

While a small dog won’t generally topple a child by jumping up on him, a small dog pogo stick can only be annoying. There is advice out there about what to do with big jumping dogs, but what about the little ones?

The bottom line is that some small dogs love to get their excercise vertically. There’s nothing wrong with this; sometimes a great jumping dog can be an absolute asset. Dogs that do obedience, agility or are working certainly need to be able to joyously bound from place to place.

But there is a time and a place for jumping. Especially at the front door, no one is thrilled with whirling dervish. And that’s specifically what I am going to talk about.

Everyone on Board

Everyone in your family needs to be willing to work with your small dog pogo stick. One adult who secretly thinks that Muffy is cute when she jumps up on guests will wreak your plan. So make sure that everyone is on board.

Take Out the Doorbell

A dog’s hearing is much more sensitive than ours’. So taking out the doorbell is an excellent first step. I’d much rather people knocked!

Teach the Sit

First you need to teach your dog how to sit. While on a leash, in a quiet spot, tell your dog to “Sit!” Pull up on the leash while bringing a small goodie up and over your dog’s head. If neccesary, push her butt down. Stand right in front of her. Glare if needed.

Wait a few seconds, then (at best BEFORE she breaks her sit) praise and give her the treat. Do this often — 5 or 6 times a day. Dogs learn best with short, frequent training sessions. Over time, that is several days, lengthen the length of sit to about 3 minutes. Then make sure your girl can sit for 3 minutes without the leash.

At the Front Door

Have a second trainer help. He should come to the door and knock softly. Tell your small dog pogo stick, now back on the leash, “Sit!”. Your friend shouldn’t even come in the front door until your dog is steady on her sit. Once she is steady on the knock, your friend can come inside.

Your friend should be able to say a friendly hello to you without being attacked with joyful bounces by your dog. So very important when he comes in is to:

IGNORE THE DOG

When your girl is steady on her sit, even after your friend has greeted you and chatted for a moment, he should reach down and give her a pat. You can release your girl with, “Say hello” or even “Give paw” if she has learned this trick. She will be validated for being quiet and respectful; this will encourage her to do that more. You are done when she is steady on this step, doing it several times over several days.

And the Reward

Once she’s steady on her training, let your small dog pogo stick run around the house for several days with a short nylon leash on her collar. When someone comes to the door, tell your girl “Sit!”. Enforce with the leash if necessary.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to greet friends at the door without running canine interference? It does take some effort but these effective steps are very simple. And really worth it.

Best, Sandy

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