Monday, August 3, 2015

New Puppy - Day 3 - jumping

Hi Judy,

Posi is settling down and getting used to us.  She did not cry nearly as much today as she did yesterday and she also slept much more.  I am sure she is both recovering from yesterday and last night as she did not sleep a whole lot coupled with being more comfortable with us.  While I cannot say she loves her crate yet, she is getting used to it and adjusting and if I had not had the great suggestion from you yesterday to get the smaller airline crate I am not sure where we would be right now.  Tonight she went into her crate on her own and is sleeping quite peacefully.  Not sure how long this will last but we are enjoying the peace and quite knowing she is safe in her crate!  Positive and progress for sure!  

Now onto biting and controlling the jumping.  Oh my goodness....the questions never end.  :))

Judy's Response:

I’m glad to hear the second day went more smoothly than the first, I look forward to hearing how she does overnight.

With regard to the jumping that you mentioned, again this is a very common behavior among puppies and a natural one as well.  Consider that to date, most of the interaction the puppy has had has been with litter mates, and if you got the opportunity to observe the litter for any length of time you know that it is often a chaotic, moving mass of fur and teeth!  Even the Mama dog will put up with a certain amount of jumping and biting for a time, but there comes a time that Mama will also no longer stand for it.

Interestingly most people believe that she will give a correction in the form of a bark and quick bite, and while that does occasionally happen more often than not the way Mama dogs let their pups know that a behavior is unwanted is they get up and walk away! 

So the three ways we teach our young pups not to jump (or bite) is to;
     Prevent the unwanted behaviors from occurring
a.       This means restraining your puppy during greetings so that they can’t jump.
b.      Putting the puppy in for a nap in their crate or exercise pen if they are overstimulated.
2      If they do jump on you, turning around and giving them no reinforcement for the behavior.
a.       This may include walking away from them preferably over a gate or through a door so they can’t follow you.
b.      If they are tethered, it will be easier to walk away as they can’t follow you forever.
3      Finally, and most importantly show the dog that they DO get attention and or treat rewards if they are calm and have all four feet on the floor when people approach.
a.       So once you’ve restrained your puppy (tethers are great for this) and you can move in and out of his/her range as required.  Be sure to return and give your puppy attention once they’ve settled down.

For greetings I like to use the ‘Hands Off’ game with all visitors and kids.

We tether the dog to a solid object so that we can approach and retreat and the dog will stay in place.  The tether can be as long or short as necessary but are typically about 4’ long.

As people come into the house, be sure to secure the puppy to something solid that is far enough away from the door so that the people coming in can comfortably stay out reach.

Let  your guests (or kids) know that they are welcome to pet the puppy as long as the puppy is calm and not jumping or mouthing them.  With very little puppies I do not ask them to sit, only that they keep all four feet on the ground.  As your guest approaches the puppy if the puppy gets excited simply have the guest back up a step.  Often people will raise their hands instinctively which is where the ‘hands off’ name comes from. They can then try again once the puppy has settled down a bit.  This can be a bit challenging in the beginning as they go back and forth, but the puppy will catch on quickly if they are consistent.  The puppy learns that jumping/mouthy behavior makes people go away and calm, feet on the floor behavior makes them come and give pets! 

It does help if your guests/kids do not make a big fuss!  The more they coo and use a baby voice, the more excited the puppy will get. 

A note about the word ‘off’!  I do not advocate (at least at this stage) using the word off for a couple of reasons.  One, it generally doesn’t work and secondly some dogs will learn to jump up just to hear the command off and get rewarded for it! 

Likewise, pushing the puppy away from you often ends up being more rewarding to the puppy than getting petted!  A basic tenant of training is a behavior that is rewarded will repeat.  So if the puppy thinks jumping on you will get them pushed away AND that is a really fun game, you are actually teaching your puppy to jump on you every time you push them off! 

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