Today we are using the ABC model to address jumping and next time we will use the same model to talk about puppy biting & mouthing. I’m hoping by giving concrete examples in each of these areas, we will all be better able to apply the concepts in the model on a regular basis to help our dogs choose better behavior.
In this episode, learn how to change your dog's jumping behavior, whether they jump on people, the sofa or counter surf.
Jumping & The Dog Training Model
Hey everyone! How are you today? I want to continue our conversation from last week on the ABC’s of dog training but I want to change the topic from barking to jumping. We are using the ABC model to address jumping today and next time we will use the same model to talk about puppy biting & mouthing. I’m hoping by giving concrete examples in each of these areas, we will all be better able to apply the concepts in the model on a regular basis to help our dogs choose better behavior.
Do any of you have a dog who jumps? Do they jump on guests? When they see another dog? To get your attention? Does your dog surf the counters for food or put their paws up on things you’d rather they not?
But first, how are things going at your house? We said goodbye to Boots/Yoshi this weekend. He is at team training with his new handler and they are rocking it. We are so proud of them and wish them the very best. Boots has been our demo dog for classes the past few years as I’ve trained him and the place is a little empty without him. I absolutely love training the service dogs and view it as a way I can give back - but it’s still hard to part ways when the time comes.
Good news for all of you though - our new puppy in training arrives in May. Thank you Camden Lane Labradoodles for prepping our puppy so well! I plan on shooting a lot of new footage with this little puppy so get ready for site updates. Can’t wait.
As a review for today’s topic - Check out Episode #56 How To Solve Any Dog Training Problem as well as Episode #68 Barking & The Dog Training Model. If you’ve already listened to these, you’ll recognize the ABC’s of dog training. This formula is very useful to change any behavior our dog may exhibit.
Today I want to apply this model to jumping.
A - what happens BEFORE your dog jumps
B - dog jumps
C - what happens right AFTER your dog jumps
The A and C pieces are what we need to focus on to change the B - behavior of our dog.
My favorite place to focus is on the A - antecedent - whatever happens BEFORE my dog jumps. Why? If I can redirect before they practice it, it never becomes a problem and definitely does not develop into a habit.
Think about that for a moment. If we focus only on the C - consequence - what happens AFTER our dog jumps, the jumping is still being practiced. We tend to get stuck in the never ending cycle of dealing with the behavior AFTER it happens. If I can intervene BEFORE the jumping happens, the behavior does NOT get practiced! That’s a huge win as we discussed last time.
Sounds great but how do I do that right?
Let me walk you through the process as it is important to know what to do when your dog jumps and then how to stay ahead of it the next time. For learning purposes, let’s look at a specific example for now, say when your dog jumps on the sofa while you want to relax and watch a show.
In this scenario, I’m sitting on the couch, my dog comes over and jumps up to be with me. My only option at this point is to focus on the C - consequence because the jumping already happened.
So, I interrupt with a sound or cue a touch to the side, off of the sofa of course. I can then reward my dog for the touch and ask for another desired behavior like a down stay. Duration helps the dog connect rewards with the down stay, not the jump that happened moments ago.
The goal now is to totally change their brain channel onto something else. Maybe this is an alternative behavior like a go to bed or crate with a favorite chew. Maybe I tether my dog to a table leg or other anchor and give them a toy. These things get my dog thinking about something else and prevent them from coming back to repeat the jumping behavior.
This redirecting is where the A comes in and now I’m in prevention mode. I don’t want my dog to go back to the jumping behavior so I prevent and train new behavior. I am a huge believer in setting my dog up for success. If I don’t want them to jump on the sofa, I prevent them from doing so by gating off the area when I’m not able to train, keeping my dog tethered to me or other sturdy items away from the sofa and employ daily crate time with chews.
Then I make a note to set up training sessions around the sofa so I can teach my dog WHAT TO DO when they see me sitting on the couch. I pay the dog for good behavior and that tends to get repeated! Success!
What does that training session look like you ask?
I like to teach my dog’s to settle on their beds when I’m sitting on the couch. Teach the go to bed behavior separately, then as your dog gets better at it, proceed to practicing it while you are watching a show. Commercials make great brain breaks where you can release your dog from the bed and play tug then go back to the behavior when the show returns.
To be effective, I need to teach, train and cue this BEFORE I sit down. I must have a plan in mind as I anticipate me sitting on the sofa may cause my dog to want to jump on the sofa too. Instead, I give them a job to do first, then sit down.
In the meantime, I limit access to the sofa during the day so my dog doesn’t practice jumping on it when I can’t be right there to train.
I set time aside daily to work on the training. Then as my dog improves, we can allow access on a limited basis and continue until my dog starts going to their bed automatically when I approach the sofa. Preventing and managing while you teach new behavior is the fastest route to success.
Yes there will be times when the jumping happens - you weren’t able to prevent it - so we handle the C side of the ABC’s by interrupting right away then redirecting. But do your best to remain on the A side of the ABC’s as to prevent habits from forming.
If you see your dog wanting to jump on a person to say hello, interrupt BEFORE they get to them. You can anticipate what they will do when they get there so give them a better job to do BEFORE you are required to react on the C side of things. Make sense?
If you see your dog wanting to jump on the counter, interrupt BEFORE they get to the counter and give them a task to do BEFORE you are required to react from the C side.
Nice. Once you understand this as a trainer, daily life with your dog improves. Try to stay one step ahead of them, give them tasks - teach them what to do - and reward them for the good behavior. Train them to do a basic sit and down stay. GO TO BED or MAT WORK is my absolute favorite as well. We teach you in our online puppy school how to train and proof these behaviors. If you need help, check it out at baxterandbella.com.
Next time we are applying this same concept to biting and mouthing - put on your training caps and see if you can figure out what I’m going to say ahead of time! I’m on spring break next week so I’ll talk to you in two. Have a great week!