I often say that dog training is simple, but not easy. One of the main reasons this is true is because any kind of change can be difficult. When we are training our dog (or any animal), we are asking them to change their behavior. However, the reality is that the trainer has to change their behavior in order to see a behavior change in their dog. As Albert Einstein so wisely said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If your attempt to train your dog is not working, or you’re struggling to train the behaviors you would like, you likely need to change your technique.
People often inadvertently teach their dog to jump on them because of how they respond. For example, the dog jumps up to get attention or because he is excited and the person tries to push the dog off and/or talks to the dog (“get down”, “off”, “stop” etc.). Both of these responses actually give attention to the behavior; therefore, the behavior is reinforced (so it is more likely to be repeated). If the person changes their response, like turning their back to the dog, ignoring the jumping or cueing a sit, in most dogs, the jumping will decrease. In this example, the dog’s behavior changed because the person’s behavior changed.
Change takes action. Just wanting or hoping your dog’s behavior will change, or that he will learn a new behavior will not work. You have to be willing to change your behavior and how you respond if you want to see a behavior change in your dog.