Wait a minute, I’m a dog trainer – isn’t liking dogs a pre-requisite?
Sure it is. Just like most people, however, what I really like is a polite dog.
The 80 lb Labrador Retriever who is repeatedly jumping on me with enough force to move me across the room or knock me over – this I do not like. I do not get warm fuzzies about that dog. Add to the forceful jumping some snapping at my face, and I am even less thrilled about this dog. The bruises and claw marks are there for days to remind me of my encounter with this creature.
That dog may be a lovely animal otherwise, but nothing they did in the first few minutes of our relationship has endeared me to them. First impressions do matter!
The good news is that I can offer a number of solutions for this relationship-buster. What fun it is for me and the guardian (not to mention the dog who doesn’t have people angrily yelling at him anymore) when we look back on that initial meeting and see a very different dog.
We arranged to have the dog on a leash anytime people came over, and he got massively rewarded (quick, repeated delivery of small pieces of cheese) for keeping his paws on the ground instead of jumping on people. Enough repetitions of that and he realized that the best payoff for him is to do just about anything but jump. We also trained a really solid “sit” so that he would have something to do vs not do, a critical piece of training that is often missed.
Ideally, this situation hasn’t been allowed to persist, as the longer a behavior is practiced the longer it takes to change. If you need help, call me.