As a dog trainer, one of the number one challenges that pet-owners come to me with is – jumping. Jumping is annoying, occasionally painful, and possibly dangerous. Often, jumping has inadvertently been encouraged by the owner(s) and once the habit is formed, can be more difficult to break.
Both Vixen & Zephyr were major jumpers. When I first met the boy, his ~80lbs. “baby” would great by not only jumping on you, but also digging in with her nails and then dragging them down your body. Ouch! I have a scar running down my leg from hip to knee from one such instance. Zephyr is more of a jump & hold guy, but unlike Vixen, who would stop after a couple jumps, Zephyr would continue until I separated him by a wall. Both have been mostly broken of this habit, thankfully!
Now, an “off” command is something I teach ALL of my doggie-clients, whether or not it was specified by the owner. I do this because there will inevitably be a situation where you do not want your dog either on you (or another person) or a piece of furniture (or other item). Some people try tell me that they never mind when their 75lb. lab gives them “hugs” or sits on the furniture. Well, that is all fine and good for you, but what happens when your 6 year old niece or 80 year old father comes to visit? Or you are on a ladder trying to fix a bulb and Fido thinks it’s a good time for that “hug”? Even if you do not use the command often, all dogs should understand an “off” command.
One thing that drives me crazy is when I am working a dog, and someone comes up to pet said dog. Firstly, I work at a complete pet care facility, meaning we offer not only the dog training, but also have doggie daycare, boarding, and grooming. So, if you are coming to our facility, see me in my logo’d polo with all my training gear and a dog, you can safely assume that we are working. Most of the time people will ask before approaching any dog I have with me or just smile and make a comment about how “cute” the dog is. However, it is those people that walk up (generally while I am having the dog stay and audibly saying “stay”), don’t ask if it is ok and start squealing and fawning over my trainee. The dog inevitably jumps and is then encouraged to continue the behavior by all the affection being given to them by this interrupter. The first words out of my mouth are always, “Fido, off. Sorry, ma’am/sir, we are working on his jumping.” Their reply? “Oh, that’s ok, I don’t mind!”
You have just undermined my leadership and made the dog break command, so while YOU may not mind, I DO. Consistency is extremely important during training and clients pay a lot of money to have their dog taught to be a well-mannered canine citizen, so no, it is NOT ok. If you would like to greet a strange dog, ASK first, then follow whatever the owner/handler tells you in regards to the introduction. Not only will you be helping the owner keep their dog’s commands & manners maintained, you help the dog generalize good behaviors outside the home. I know people are mostly well-meaning, but good intentions cannot train your dog!
Has something like this every happened to you and your dog? Let me know in the comments!