Greeting People Without Jumping

Exercise Instructions & Handouts

 
 

Exercise 1: Sit - Hand Signal

  1. Place a smelly and attractive treat in front of the dog’s nose while the dog is standing, and move it upwards and backwards in a diagonal motion. As their head moves up to follow the treat, their rear will go down.

  2. When the dog reaches the sit position, punctuate that moment with a verbal “yes!” or click.

  3. Feed a treat reward for finding the position.

Now that your dog is getting used to the motion, we are going to remove the food lure from the context, and start to create a hand signal for sit. Be careful that you are not also saying a verbal cue while practicing this exercise. We want to ensure that we have multiple ways to cue the behavior, and if we start to pair them together, you will always have to perform both cues at the same time to get your dog to sit.

Now before repeating the exercise, take your treat, and put it into the opposite hand. Pretend that your hand still has the treat in it, and perform the same “lure” motion you just did. When your dog’s rear hits the ground, punctuate the moment with a “yes!” or a click and feed them the treat from your other hand. Repeat each time moving your hand a little faster, this is now your hand signal for sit.

Exercise 2: Sit - Verbal Cue

Take a step in any direction, then stand still and quietly wait for your dog to think through the pattern of behavior which has previously made a reward appear. Make sure to ignore your dog while you wait, so that they learn effectively to get your attention using polite behavior.

  1. Say “Sit” once, and wait for the behavior to follow. Your dog will need to think and process, so be patient.

  2. After a few moments your dog will hesitantly sit, as this has worked in previous exercises.

  3. Mark the moment they hit the correct position with a verbal “yes!” Or click, and praise and reward with a treat.

  4. Take another step and repeat until the sit becomes the immediate response to the verbal cue.

    Exercise 3: Down from a Sit - Hand Signal (Method 1)

With your dog in the sit position, put an attractive treat in front of his or her nose.

  1. Slowly lower the treat to the floor so that your dog’s front legs lower. Be careful not to pull the treat too far forward asthis will cause your dog to get up to follow the treat.

  2. Mark the moment your dog hits the position with a verbal “yes!” Or a click, reward and repeat a couple of times.

After a few repetitions remember to remove the lure and begin practicing with a hand signal. We want to be careful that the dog is not confusing the presence of the treat as a necessary context for performing the behavior.

Exercise 4: Down from a Stand - Hand Signal (Method 2)

The next method for luring the “down” position is called the “fold-back down”, the reason being that you start from the standing position and the dog is expected to bend it’s legs and fold into the down. Here is what that looks like:

  1. Place a treat in front of your dog’s nose while standing and move it downwards towards the ground, while at the same time pushing the treat back towards the dogs elbows.

  2. As their head moves to follow the treat, their body will lower. When the dog’s elbows touch the ground, Click or mark with a verbal “yes!”.

  3. Feed and treat and repeat, then try without a treat, each time increase the speed of your motion.

This turns your “lure” into a hand signal.

Exercise 5: Down Verbal Cue

Take a step in any direction, then stand still and quietly wait for your dog to think through the pattern of behavior which has previously made a reward appear. Make sure to ignore your dog while you wait, so that they learn effectively to get your attention using polite behavior.

  1. Say “Down” once, and wait for the behavior to follow. Your dog will need to think and process, so be patient.

  2. After a few moments your dog will hesitantly lower, as this has worked in the recent repetitions.

  3. Mark the moment they hit the correct position with a verbal “yes!” Or click, and praise and reward with a treat.

  4. Take another step and repeat until the down position becomes the immediate response to hearing the verbal cue.

Exercise 6: Targeting

Targeting is a simple skill that involves the animal placing a part of their body on an object. For your dog, the body part we want them to use is their nose, and the “object” we would like them to touch is our hand when it is in a certain position, you can choose either an open flat hand, or a closed fist. You may need to experiment and see which hand signal your dog is more excited by.

  1. Start by placing your empty hand near to your dog (within 6 inches), at this point your hand likely smells of treats which will help to lead your dog to investigate it.

  2. When they curiously sniff at your hand, click or mark with a verbal “yes!”.

  3. Feed them a treat from your OTHER hand and repeat, each time moving your hand to a different location.

  4. As your dog becomes more confident about pressing their nose into your hand, move your hand farther and farther away.

Do NOT bring your hand to your dog, they are responsible for closing the gap and coming all the way to you to earn their reward. Targeting is a useful foundational skill for a lot of the common problem behaviors we see in pet dogs.

Exercise 4: Putting it Together - The Greeting Routine

Finally, using all of these foundational skills we have just taught your dog, we are going to set up a greeting routine to help ensure that your dog practices appropriate behavior to earn a chance to greet, and decreases the reinforcement opportunities for inappropriate behavior such as jumping. The routine looks like this:

  1. When a person approaches, instruct your dog to sit, and shorten the leash so that your dog cannot run up to the person. (While practicing, the person approaching should stop and back up when the dog breaks the sit).

  2. Instruct the person your dog would like to greet to present the hand target to your dog.

  3. When your dog is calm cue your him or to “go say hello!” and direct him/her to the hand.

  4. Mark with a “yes!” or click as soon as their nose touches the person’s hand and call the dog back to you for a treat. When your dog turns around to eat the treat, you can instruct the greeter to pet the dogs rear or back. This is a great place to pet to discourage jumping. Petting on the head, shoulders or chest often encourages the dog to jump.

  5. Reset & Repeat & have fun!

 

Polite Greeting Training Task Checklist

Click document to download the complete version.

Click document to download the complete version.

 

Troubleshooting Greeting

Help! My dog is stuck on treats, and won’t come unless he or she can see them.

 

Remember, this class can be repeated as often as needed until you reach your training goals. Additionally, other beginner level manners and obedience classes include:

Come When Called

Greeting People Without Jumping

Teething, Nipping & Chewing

Counter Surfing & Begging

Loose Leash Walking

Stay & Wait

Door Dashers - Preventing Escape

Mat Work & Relaxation

Desensitization for Grooming, Handing and Veterinary Procedures