We have a 2 year old poodle that drives our grandchildren and other visitors crazy when they come into the house. She jumps and will not leave them alone until I get a hold of her. She also licks people continually if you let her. Any suggestions on how to break these behaviors?
Cathy – St. Louis
Hi Cathy, Thank you for your question… Over-exuberant jumping on guests is an extremely common problem among dog owners. Whether you have a miniature poodle, a standard poodle or a “malti-poo,” jumping can be an annoyance for your guests, or worse, very dangerous, especially for children and elderly guests.
Dogs jump not because they are trying to “dominate” your guests, but because jumping has worked effectively in the past in ultimately getting what they want… their immediate attention! It
will be important to warn your guests that your dog is in training, and it’s best to ignore her completely until she is able to calm down. Dogs without proper physical outlets will also be more prone to jump, so it’s a good idea to exercise her a bit before guests arrive.
Here is a link to a short video below from Andrea Arden dog trainer, Jo Anne Basinger, which I think is the best and most succinct way to begin training your dog not to jump. To ensure that your dog does not jump on guests, maintain your dog on-leash as new visitors are arriving. If your dog is able to practice the unwanted behavior, it will only become stronger, which is not what we want.
Solve Your Dog’s Jumping Problem
In general, you may also want to consider implementing what’s called the Nothing In Life Is Free aka the Say Please program with your dog. Teach your dog an appropriate default behavior – like a Sit – if they want something from you or your guests. It’s a polite way for your dog to “say please” for anything she desires, such as her food bowl, getting up on furniture or interaction with your guests.
With the licking, try marking the moments she is not licking guests with either a clicker (or a verbal “Yes!”) followed up with a delicious tidbit treat, like string cheese or plain, unseasoned chicken. She will soon learn that not licking yields a better outcome for her. Or teach your dog to move away from guests on cue, so that she is not within licking distance. See here for teaching your dog “Away.”
Poodles are one of the world’s smartest dog breeds and have the capability able to learn very quickly. With lots of repetition, positive reinforcement for correct behavior and consistency, your dog will be sitting politely automatically and “holding her tongue” when your guests arrive.