Teaching Your Dog OFF

When most puppies are little, their “people” inadvertently encourage them to jump up. It is not very distressing to have a little pup jumping up on your ankle or shin, in fact, it’s kind of cute. So, the puppy learns from early in life that if he wants attention, he should jump up on his “person” and they will reward him for it with praise and attention. As the puppy gets older and bigger his “people” all of a sudden decide that what they have taught him to do (jumping up for attention) is now putting paw prints on their favorite shirts! You can start teaching “OFF” at this point, or if you’re lucky, you will have taught your puppy “OFF” from the beginning!
Teach your dog the “OFF” command when he is not excited, and doesn’t particularly want to jump up. Say “UP” and encourage the dog to jump up on you or on a piece of furniture. When he jumps up say “GOOD UP!” and praise your dog. Then say “OFF!” and push your dog’s chest so that he must release and put all four paws on the ground. When all four paws are on the ground say “GOOD OFF!” Kneel down so that you can give your dog praise and attention. Keep doing this exercise, at least three times a day. ALWAYS end the teaching lesson by kneeling down and giving your dog praise and attention. This will make him eager to obey the “OFF” command.  After your dog is familiar with the “OFF” command (about 2 days to 2 weeks) begin using it when he’s really excited and jumps up on you. (Usually when you just come home.) The most important thing to remember when executing the “OFF” command is to kneel down and give your dog praise and attention IMMEDIATELY when he puts four paws on the ground!  If you are teaching a dog that has been used to jumping up to receive attention, this command may take many months of consistent and positive reinforcement before your dog will become reliable.

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