How to Stop the World from Rewarding Your Dog's Jumping
Controlling and training your dog is relatively easy in comparison to trying to control and train the humans in the world. It's particularly difficult when they seem determined to undermine your efforts to make sure your dog is a polite and well-behaved member of society.
The “But I Don't Mind”-ers
You've seen them; they're the people with muddy paw prints all over their clothes. When you protest about your dog jumping up on them, the likely response is, “It's okay, I love dogs, I don't mind.” That's just fine, but this is your dog. If you mind, it's your rules that have to be followed. You can either not let your dog interact with people who refuse to follow your rules, or you can try to convert them to your way of thinking.
A little creative fibbing often helps. Try telling the “But I don't mind”-ers that your dog is in training to be a therapy dog or Canine Good Citizen, and that he's not allowed to jump uninvited to pass those tests — who knows, maybe it's even true (or will be someday).
You can also try getting these well-meaning but unhelpful individuals involved in the training process. Give them a couple of treats and let them lure your dog into a sit and reward your dog for maintaining the sit. You can unobtrusively step on the leash when your dog sits to prevent him from being successful if he has a lapse in judgment and tries to jump again.
Make a bargain with family members or other people who, for whatever reason, want your dog to jump up on them. After your dog gives up trying to jump on people indiscriminately, you can teach your dog to “give hugs” or “paws up” on command.
Saboteurs can be your biggest obstacles when it comes to teaching your dog not to jump on people. These are the people, often family members (teenage boys are most frequently the guilty parties), who deliberately encourage or reward jumping up. Their reasons vary, but it often comes down to “You're mean,” because you won't let your dog express his joy at seeing people, or you're trying to “break his spirit,” or you don't want him to have any fun. Of course, none of these are true, but try not to get involved in the argument.
As you learned in Chapter 5, a random schedule of reinforcement is the best way to keep a behavior strong, so if you have a saboteur that is rewarding your dog for jumping, even occasionally, it's going to be almost impossible to eliminate the behavior.