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  • Writer's pictureKari Bastyr, MS, CDBC, CPCN

Puppy Training Video: Teaching a Puppy to Sit for Greetings

Happy National Puppy Day!

I have been working with Dutchess, a 17-week old black lab for about 2 weeks. Her mom, Gretchen, is very dedicated to helping the both learn and communicate effectively.  She hired me to come once or twice a week to work with Dutch on a few behaviors, and at the top of the list is No Jumping.  When Gretchen is gone, Dutch is kept in the back hall with her crate, water, toys, and bones .  She has free run of a small space with a tile floor and is doing well. Each side of the space is gated with a baby gate. Whenever Gretchen comes in, or when someone comes over, Dutch goes crazy jumping on the gate. Up until now, the behavior has been reinforced a lot (Gretchen has 4 kids), and Dutch jumps on the gate to be closer to her people and to get attention. What no one realized is that by petting her/touching her getting excited when she jumps on the gate, they were inadvertently increasing the likelihood that she would continue to jump.

Instead of punishing her for jumping, or asking for a sit when she’s over-the top excited and can’t sit, I am trying to extinguish jumping by using a very natural consequence: I back up ad don’t give her attention. This was my second visit, and perhaps only the 6th or 7th time I tried this technique with her (I repeated it several times on my first visit when I walked in).

Watch what she does in the video. She is problem solving what it’s going to take to 1) get me to come back, and 2) get a treat. Once her butt is on the ground, I try to treat her, but when she jumps, I withdraw the treat. She learned very quickly to keep her butt on the ground. I also added a no-reward marker. Super smart puppy!  Now I just have to work on extinguishing the paw.

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