Q: How can I stop my dog from jumping whenever I put my jacket or sweatshirt on? She thinks she’s coming with me every time I leave the house. –Stacey B.
A: Doorways are exciting places for most dogs. After all, this is where they go to head out of the house on fun walks and where you enter to come home after leaving them. So it’s no surprise your dog is aroused when in this area.
With any behavior issue, the first step is identifying the cause (we just did that!) and the second is using management to prevent the behavior from being practiced while you work on step three: teaching an alternative behavior which competes with the one you want to lessen. I would suggest a couple of techniques.
- Use a high-value distraction: Have a toy stuffed with food your dog adores ready in a plastic bag in the fridge so you can get it right before you go to put your jacket on. Give it to your dog and odds are she will be enthralled with it to the exclusion of bothering you as you get ready to leave.
- Practice the “wait” command: It sounds like your pup needs to work on impulse- or self-control. Throughout the day, practice waiting to give her a treat or her food or anything else she wants until she sits without you asking.
- Teach “sit” as an alternate behavior: Teaching your dog to offer a sit without you asking is a wonderful way to allow her to become a problem solver. This way, she will learn to default to sit whenever she wants something.
In the case of you at the front door, I suspect your dog wants your attention and for you to take her out to play. Well, now she has a way of asking nicely!