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Use active ignoring to keep your dog from jumping up

Photo of dog rearing up on chair beside handler.
Sometimes a dog rearing up is okay.  This
doberman is outside a dog show in Germany
earlier this month.  (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

"What do you mean, 'ignore' him?  How can I ignore my dog when he's jumping all over me?"

Active ignoring doesn't mean the same as passive ignoring.  Sure, you can't just stand there while your dog jumps all over you.  Active ignoring, however, effectively gives your dog a little time out.

Here's how it's done:  when your dog jumps up on you, as soon as you see her rearing up, immediately turn your back on her and walk away.  Then turn right around and come back.  If she rears up again, repeat it.  Continue to repeat it until she doesn't jump up when you're standing there.  As soon as that happens, pet her and praise her profusely.  "Good off!  Good girl!  Good off!"

That last part is vital.  And it's the part we often leave out in training our dogs--we try to tell them what we don't want them to do but then we don't let them know what we do want.

I work in the pet care field and have the opportunity to try this all the time.  I walk up with a treat, the dog starts to rear, I immediately turn and walk away.  Sometimes that's all it takes, and the dog immediately turns and loses interest.  Other times it takes more effort.  Dog rears, I turn and walk away, come right back.  Dog rears, I turn, come back.  Dog rears, turn, come back.  Sooner or later, the dog realizes that he will get no attention as long as he rears up.  "Good dog!"  "Good off!"  I give him pats and a treat.

Behavioral change will not happen overnight.  What does?  (Well, some things do, but that's another story.)  Your dog will forget.  You will forget.  But the more precise and consistent you are, the quicker your dog will learn what's expected.

Next time:  some big obstacles that keep active ignoring from working.