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Very excitable dog 

Hi Dr. Ant and Dr. James,
My border collie cross is very excitable and has a bad habit of jumping up on people when we walk which was cute when she was a puppy but not so much now she is 12 months old. Most people are understanding as we live in rural Victoria and they are aware of this trait in working dogs but I fear that someone will take offence particularly if it is a child. Can you suggest the best way to curb this habit before something happens. I'm at my wits end and she is such a sweet little thing and our walks are becoming quite stressful. :(

Answered Monday 11 May 2015

Hi Brenda,

 

 thanks for your question. My Doberman "Turtle" used to do the same think and it was very annoying. It can be difficult to train dogs not to jump up as the initial reaction of strangers is to pat and hence positively reward the dog for jumping up. What you need to do is to ask your dog to perform what we call a mutually exclusive behaviour when people approach her. If you ask her to sit and then reward her with a pat or a treat she cannot jump at the same time. That way she gets what she wants, which is attention and you get what you want which is a dog that is not jumping. 

You may also want to try a collar called a "Halti". This type of collar attaches below the dogs jaw and you get better control over their heads. If they pull it acts to turn the dogs head back towards the lead and it makes jumping difficult. Most smart dogs (border collies are definitely smart!) learn pretty quickly that pulling/jumping is uncomfortable and will stop doing it when the Halti is on. 

 

Good luck training her to remain grounded,

 

regards,

 

 Anthony.

Pet Experts

Dr Ant and Dr James

These two best mates share a love of animals and are the stars of Village Vets Australia.

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