The key to ending the jump is to teach your dog what you want him to do. In this case, come towards him and calmly keep all 4 paws on the floor. I like to have my dog already mastered the behavior of sitting. It is not essential, but it gives them extra behavior that they can offer instead of jumping.
But the main goal here is to set your dog up for success by showing them what you want, instead of what you don’t want. The next step is to move away from your dog and click before he jumps. Then, treat them on the floor so they can anticipate treatment from below and not above.
As your dog learns what you want, you can delay the click until your dog reaches you and calmly sits or stays instead of jumping. Here, sitting or standing is acceptable. If your dog jumps, just step aside. All you want to do here is to take your paws off you. So it is important that you ignore your dog. Stay calm and avoid rewarding them by saying “no” or “down”.
Now that you have shown your German shepherd that you want all 4 legs on the ground when they come towards you, if they jump and you ignore them, they have an alternative behavior.
So, now that you and your dog have the basics covered, the next step is to prove the behavior.
So, what is proof?
The test is teaching your dog not to jump in all situations, setting up training sessions with situations that cause jumps.
Why is proof important?
Dogs are attached to the context. This means that if they learn behavior in the kitchen, it does not mean that they understand that they should not do it in the lounge.
This also means raising the criteria, making situations more challenging, adding stimuli that cause jumps.
Then, when reviewing, you accept this behavior and teach your dog to apply it to other areas, people and situations.
How to Prove Without Jumping
The test in different areas is very simple. Basically, all you need to do is rinse and repeat the steps you originally followed.
This part goes very fast, because all you are doing is showing your dog what you want in different places.
Reviewing with more challenging criteria requires a little more work and creativity on your part.
You can work alone or work with someone.
For starters, you will click and reward while doing the jumping behavior. And once your dog is getting calm and not jumping, you’ll start clicking and rewarding after the distraction.
Remember that the golden rule of dog training is to prepare your dog for success. If your dog is getting very excited and failing, take a step back to calmer distractions.
Here is a quick example of evidence at the front door …
Click and release the rewards on the floor while opening the door. This eliminates the opportunity for your dog to jump, keeping all 4 paws on the floor.
Greet your dog with a lively and happy voice and you can even add some physical touch here. All of these things excite dogs and that is what you want, so you can prove the behavior.
Remember to click and reward. So it will look something like this …
Jumping / no-jump / click / reward behavior.
If your dog is doing well, raise the criteria even further by moving animatedly towards the door. Remember a happy voice!
If your dog jumps, just go to the side and ignore him. And then take a step back to a calmer voice and movements.
You can even pretend to be afraid of your dog. So try to use body movements that a person afraid of dogs would do.
Movements like raising your hands quickly, making breathless sounds and even moving quickly in corners.
I like to add this step because dogs often go into jump mode when they encounter people who are afraid of them. And they only do it because of those movements. So, exposing them to this proves their behavior, if they run into someone like that.
Adding toys to the mix is also a great way to prove the behavior. Keeping the toy out of your dogs’ reach, remembering the happy voice is the key here. And then click and reward the floor if your dog keeps all 4 paws on the floor.
One thing you really need to make sure you don’t do is ignore your dog’s jump and then immediately reinforce your sitting dog.
If you do this, you will teach your dog to get his attention by jumping and then giving him the behavior he wants, which is to be calm.