Q: How can I stop my German Shepherd from jumping whenever I put my jacket or sweatshirt on? He thinks he’s coming with me every time I leave the house. – James T.
A: The possibility of getting out of the house are very exciting for all healthy German Shepherds. Whenever you stand in your doorway, your German Shepherd will get his hopes up – wouldn’t you? It’s no surprise your dog is aroused when you are around your doorway – I actually think it’s a healthy sign.
Whenever you have behaviour issue, the first step is identifying the cause (we just did that!) and the second is using management to prevent the behaviour from being practiced while you work on step 3: teaching an alternative behaviour which competes with the one you want to lessen. I would suggest a couple of techniques.
- Use a distraction: Have some treats your dog loves ready in a plastic bag in the fridge so you can get it right before you go to put your jacket on. Give it to your dog when you are about to leave, and the odds are that your German Shepherd will be so enthuastic about the treat that he notice you getting ready to leave.
- Practice the “wait” command: It sounds like your German Shepherd needs to work on impulse- or self-control. Throughout the day, practice waiting to give her a treat or her food or anything else he wants until he sits without you asking.
- Teach “sit” as an alternate behaviour: Teaching your dog to offer a sit without you asking is a wonderful way to allow her to become a problem solver. This way, he will learn to default to sit whenever he wants something.
In the case of you at the front door, I suspect your dog wants your attention and for you to take her out to play. Well, now he has a way of asking nicely!
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