The thing about dogs is that when you get frustrated, there isn't a pause button. You can't just turn them off when you decide to do something else. When we don't like a dog's behavior, instead of just expecting them to "stop right now!" we need to teach them an alternate behavior.
How can you deal with nuisance behavior effectively at home? With these 4 simple steps:
#1 - Stop and think for a minute. What would you like your dog to do instead?
#2 - Take the time to train that behavior. For example if you want to teach your dog to greet people politely instead of jump up, first you need to teach him to sit.
#3 - Stop reinforcing the nuisance behavior. If when your dog jumps up you push him off (or engage with him at all), he's going to think you're playing a game. He will continue to jump in order to earn your attention. Much like with small children, any attention can be good attention for Fido.
#4 - Reinforce the desired behavior. When Fido sits on his rump, instead of jumping up, he has earned a treat for sure! Pay your dog for his good work with food, and he'll pay you back with good behavior.
It sounds simple because it is! The big keys to success in any training, but especially with nuisance behaviors, are patience and consistency. Every time your dog performs the behavior you wish to eliminate you have to ignore it. Every time your dog offers the behavior you DO want, reinforce-reinforce-reinforce. Remember it's not a race. Keep pace with their learning speed, and you'll cross the finish line together.
Emily Lewis is a professional dog trainer and veterinary technician. She lives in Vermont with her three rescue dogs, tuxedo cat, corn snake, crested geckos and Russian tortoise.