We've talked before about how to teach dogs to greet politely and not jump on guests or strangers. There are many ways to approach this and most can work very well.

Another tactic that we haven't discussed on the blog is to teach the exact opposite of the behaviour you want in order to provide clarity for your dog. It's much easier to extinguish a behaviour that you've identified for your dog. Similar to teaching your dog "quiet" by encouraging them to bark, it can be helpful to teach your dog to jump up on you in order to teach them the "off" cue.

Teach them Paws Up!

Start by teaching them how to appropriately jump on you. Teach them a "Paws Up" cue by luring them onto you with tasty food. The ultimate goal being to create an understanding that they can only jump up when invited with the cue. The bonus is the other times this may come in handy.

  • You may want your dog's attention and focus on you as distractions approach. You can use your "Paws Up" command to keep them out of trouble and to help them focus on you instead of the environment.
  • "Paws up" is a very helpful cue for you and your dog to know when you need to lift them onto tables or into vehicles, etc. 
  • It can be turned into a great trick - "Paws Up" on the wall or some other object
Teaching "Paws Up" can make for a great trick (and photo op ;o)

Teach them Paws Off!

Now that they understand one half of the equation, it's time to teach them the other. You can start by working the opposite to "Paws Up". Give their "Paws Up" cue and reinforce them (pet, praise or feed). Now ask for the off and lure them off. Practise this behaviour several times until they are quickly responding to both cues without a food lure. 

Once you've trained these two skills and they have an understanding of what "off" means, you can follow the steps in this article to really cement their understanding.

This is just another way to help them live in our world.

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