There have been several incidents lately with dogs attacking each other. While we understand that dogs will be dogs and rough play does happen, behaviour which results in injury is not acceptable. Please watch your dogs carefully, move them away if they start showing aggression or invest in a muzzle if you know your dog has a tendency to be aggressive to others.

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get, together with ‘My dog doesn’t come back to me when I call him’, is ‘How do I stop my dog from jumping up on people?’, and this is the answer that I usually give.

Dogs jump up for attention, so,  any attention, whether it be verbal and/or physical, that he gets while  jumping up,  will be seen as positive reinforcement, and the dog will continue jumping .

Most jumping occurs at the front door, when one returns home.  The way to stop the jumping, is NOT TO TAKE ANY NOTICE OF THE DOG WHATSOEVER…   Easier said than done, I hear you say, but here are some tips for you.

a) Armed with all your parcels, just walk past your dog as if he doesn’t exist.

b) Without saying a word, put your parcels down, pack them away, switch on the kettle, and do whatever else you need to, all the while pretending you don’t have a dog.

c) It will take a while, depending on the dog, but eventually he will stop jumping and go and lie down.

d) At that point, when your dog has finally decided not to waste any more energy unnecessarily,  you can quietly – and I mean quietly – give him some affection…..

e) After practising this behaviour a couple of times, you’ll find that when you next arrive home, your well-behaved dog will be jumping far less, and  will wait quietly to be praised for good behaviour.    Eventually the jumping will stop completely – why should your dog jump, if he doesn’t get rewarded?

For some people, this is easier said than done, as they find it extremely difficult to ignore their dogs completely.    

Can you hear yourself saying, as you arrive home, ‘Hullo my boy, (bark, jump) did you miss me? (jump, bark, jump) .    The traffic was terrible and there was such a long queue at the supermarket…..’ (bark, bark, jump)….  All your talking would just be feeding the dog’s  excitement, causing more and more jumping and barking  with your dog thinking that his behaviour was acceptable.

Once you have achieved calmness at your front door, you can apply the same behaviour in other situations.

NEVER pat your dog when he is jumping up, but rather make him sit – a sitting dog cannot jump.   Every family member, plus all your guests,  have to  practise this same technique and within a short while, you will have a calm, well-behaved dog.

Good luck and happy training!!!   

Sandy Colman, resident De Waal Park dog trainer.

Friends of De Waal Park / Standard Bank – Thibault Square Branch / Account No.: 070 125 481 / Branch code: 051 001