Sitting Saves Lives
If I told you I had a trick to reduce dog homelessness would you be interested in learning about it? What if I said it was a free and only requires a few minutes per day? And what if I said you could earn one million dollars in one month by doing this trick, would that increase your interest?
People who don’t care so much for dogs, or perhaps are even a bit nervous around them, will tell you what they most dislike is dogs jumping on them. I get that, it is rude, uncomfortable and even threatening. If people did that to one another there would be some fallout. So, correcting this behavior in dogs could essentially increase their popularity and reduce their numbers in animal shelters – right?
So let’s get started. Number one rule of this trick is consistency in reinforcing the desired behavior and not the undesired behavior. Simply teach your dog that they receive no attention (their reward) for jumping on you or anyone else.
Teach your dog to do something that is incompatible with jumping up, sitting. They can't sit and jump up at the same time. If they are not sitting, they get no attention. Simple. Let’s put it into action:
Ask someone you know to approach you and your dog. Ask your dog to sit. If your dog stands up, the greeter immediately turns and walks away. Keep repeating until your dog remains seated as the greeter approaches. If your dog does remain seated, the greeter can give attention and a treat as a reward (as long as the dog remains seated).
So how does this translate to the crazily enthusiastic door greeter at home? It’s really the same approach. Do not open the door until your dog is seated. Have your guest ignore the dog if he/she gets up from the seated position or jumps on your guest. If your dog stays seated he receives a reward. Very quickly your dog will learn the biggest rewards come from a calm and seated greeting.
Key to success: everyone in your family must follow the training program all the time. You can't let your dog jump on people in some circumstances, but not others. Practice in many different environments with different sizes and shapes of people.
My name is Wilma. I am not a jumper-on-people kind of dog as I am just learning to trust people. I am a gorgeous Siberian Husky who has, until being rescued in September, spent all four years of life in a puppy mill.
I have a minor special need due to some skin issues that may require lifelong medication management. I have made great strides in learning to be a care-free dog rather than a puppy-making machine. I am now learning it feels good to be pet, brushed, hugged and loved. And going on walks outdoors in fresh air is exhilarating! As is playing with other dogs! Oh, and I adore kids!
I am looking for a patient forever family with a very secure fenced in yard and another dog that will continue to teach me about being a family member. And of course, as a husky I love to chatter, so a family that is willing to learn my language would be a big bonus.
Speaking of bonuses, what about that million dollars I promised at the beginning of this article? So sorry, it was a trick to get you to pay attention. I can probably hook you up with a few genuine tail wags instead?
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 26 years. Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.