My Pet World: If you are patient, you can train your dog to not jump
My 3-year-old medium size Sheepadoodle (Old English sheepdog/poodle mix) gets excited when anybody comes in the door, even me and my husband when we try to put a leash on her. It takes five or 10 minutes before she calms down. When she's in this hyper-state, she won't stay in a "sit" (position). When we picked her up from the breeder, we met Abby's father, and he was a jumper too.
She's a very affectionate, loving dog who loves everyone -- people, dogs, and cats. I tried clicker/reward with a trainer, but it didn't work. I'm considering sending her to this trainer's boot camp for a week. Any ideas? My grandchildren are visiting next spring, and my 5-year-old granddaughter is small for her age. -- Cindy, Green Valley, AZ
Asking a happy dog to sit is no easy feat. You can send her to boot camp, but it's the same person you have been training with, so he or she will use clicker training to train her. Clicker training works, but it requires consistent commitment on your part. You would need to always carry a clicker and treats with you during the initial training phase.
A trainer will work with Abby by turning his or her back on her when she jumps. When Abby sees she is not going to get any attention (attention includes using your hands to push her away from you or off of you), she will drop to all fours. It's that moment when the trainer clicks and gives her the treat. When paired with a word like "off," this training will improve Millie's jumping behavior. However, this exercise must be repeated over and over again under all sorts of circumstances for her to understand.
I believe this is something you and your husband can train Millie to do. If you are more comfortable with trainers giving you a head start, then let them begin the training. But make sure they train you and your husband because it's your consistency with the techniques that will ensure Millie's success.
I think you missed it with your answer to Stephen, Valley Stream, N.Y. Having been a responsible breeder for 30 years, I have encountered deafness. It seems, to me, Millie's problems could all be related to it. There is a simple test done by a Veterinary Neurologist call the BAER test, which determines unilateral or bilateral hearing loss. It's not painful and reasonably inexpensive. There must be places in Nassau County, N.Y. where it's available. For any dog problem, medical causes need to be ruled out first. -- Dr. Mark Shangold, Willimantic, CT
Dear Dr. Shangold,