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Serbrider 04-03-2014 03:25 PM

Convincing strangers to not let her jump up on them?
Ok, so I keep running into this problem. 13 weeks old. So still a little puppy. BUT, since I am planning on doing therapy work as well as service dog work if she takes to the tasks I need her to be able to do.

I don't want to have to retrain proper behavior for greeting people, but right now, that is what I'm having to do.

I take her with me to tractor supply, ace hardware, Home Depot, and the park. Up until a couple weeks ago she stayed in the basket so I didn't have to worry. People would just reach in and pet her.

And now we do both in and out of the basket... And running into problems.

We NEVER approach people unless invited (and I never ask, it's only if others ask if she can come see them), and would prefer if others would ask me, but that is not always the case.

She is still so little and cute that people will just squeal and laugh as she dances around on them and complain loudly about how "she's just a puppy" when I pull her off them, put her in a sit, and ask them to bend down to pet her, or I pick her up to let them do so.

I hope to get to the point where she will ignore most of it unless I give the ok, but it's really hard when everyone I meet just works her up so much, even when I try to explain.

She doesn't wear any kind of vest or bandana, would something like that with "therapy dog in training" possibly help? I can't just stop taking her since these are some of the only places where I can actually get her used to stuff like heavy machinery, crowds, etc. But it's driving me nuts when every other aisle someone goes nuts over her and works her up into a frenzy, and then I'm stuck trying to focus her again for the next 5 minutes or so.

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Baillif 04-03-2014 04:51 PM

I use the same sharp no on an approaching person as on a dog that just tried to eat my sock. But hey maybe I just have a social disorder. No explain action necessary or given. Just no.

selzer 04-03-2014 05:01 PM

Correcting your puppy for behavior you do not want is your business. Not allowing your puppy to jump on people is your responsibility -- not theirs.

If they protest, "she's just a puppy," simply say, "in four months she will be sixty or seventy pounds, it is much kinder to not allow a bad habit than to have to break her of it when she is big enough to hurt someone."

Of course you will probably have to knock that down to size. Somewhere between Baillif's and my responses would be appropriate, and easy enough to remember and say.

Be nice. And you and your dog will be ambassadors for the breed. Good examples do not let John Q. Public encourage them to allow behaviors that will not be welcomed in the breed when your puppy has the body of a small horse and a baby brain.

cethlen1621 04-03-2014 05:11 PM

I would suggest some kind of signing, whether a vest or bandana or even one on your person. Some people will still not pay attention, but it will help, especially if you put a warning for them of how to approach you and the dog. I know if I see the vest or bandana with the service/therapy/etc dog in training sign, I am even more likely to make sure I do what the handler/owner instructs, but I generally do try to ask anyways and use the basic commands of "no," "sit," or "good boy/girl" when appropriate.

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Baillif 04-03-2014 05:34 PM


If they come over to mess with the puppy or dog without asking its IMO rude. I have no qualms being rude back. If they ask I'll maybe set ground rules maybe just give a polite dogs in training. Usually a no.

selzer 04-03-2014 05:40 PM

If you want the dog to be a therapy dog, than the dog will have to be accepting of all people, all overtures, crazy-acting people, sick people, young people, old people, and so forth. Also stuff.

I think that having the dog out and about is good. You do not always have to say "yes." But it makes sense to allow interaction between people and your pet, if you feel they are not going to give your dog a negative experience.

If the puppy is confident and a good therapy dog candidate, the attention will not hurt him at all. It also will not hurt him for you to tell him to sit, or to tell people when they ask to pet your dog, "only if he sits." And then you sit your dog and let them pet him.

Usually with baby puppies, you want to let the pup make the overture. But again, a dog with good nerve ought to be able to handle ordinary attention from people. And they should be able to accept a correction for jumping up.

Gwenhwyfair 04-03-2014 05:45 PM

Vest with "In training" And/or "do not pet". Most folks respect the vest, the ones that didn't it slowed them down enough for me to give them a firm No. For the very reasons you describe, folks encourage bad habits and then argue about it as though you're being unkind, next puppy I will be more strict with the people, not the puppy. ;)

Msmaria 04-03-2014 07:19 PM

I am not a trainer but what worked for me was carrying treats and having him "sit " instead of jumping up. Of course now thats hes older he could care less about people never mind jump on them.

Serbrider 04-03-2014 08:12 PM

Thanks guys. I'll see about getting/making an appropriate vest with "in training" on it, and try the "it may be cute now, but not in 4 months when she's sixty pounds" kind of thing as explanation.

I have a really hard time being rude back to people, even if they are rude to me. I am just such a peacekeeper by nature... but I don't want people to push me around nor do I want my dog picking up bad manners (which I do correct every time she starts, and put her into a sit stay... which she DOES know, but is still a bit iffy when out in public).

And selzer, she's a very confident dog. Very little fazes her. Great on a leash, and excellent nerves. Just LOVES people. Dogs and other animal distractions, she couldn't care less. But people, she just adores them, and loves them. Right now we're working on "calm" though, around any kind of people. But to do that, we need to work up from "other people are calm so you must be calm" to "other people may be going crazy but you have to still be calm". And with her puppy mind, it can be difficult to get her attention if there's some lady running towards her squealing and waving her hands around at her. Not that Arya's scared. Not in the slightest. She just wants to be everyone's best friend, and just can't get enough of them. And I want her to get that socialization and attention. I definitely do. But at the same time, SHE needs to know that in order to get that attention, she needs to be calm and quiet.

Food can generally divert her attention away from almost anything... but yeah… hard to convince her of that with some lady grabbing at her. (it always tends to be adult females that are the “worst”)

And yeah, I know it’s my responsibility. Just looking for ideas on how to explain to others why I must correct my pup and have her sit and be calm before they start grabbing on her (for now, we will work up to people grabbing on her and she still is supposed to be calm, we just aren’t there yet).

DJEtzel 04-03-2014 08:28 PM

For once, I agree with Baillif.

Say no. Period.

If you have to, we tell clients (and in your case it's true..) "We're actually training for our therapy dog certification, this is something we're struggling with, do you think you could help by _____?" No one wants to ruin your therapy dog. Thing is, you need to be proactive and catch people BEFORE she's allowed to put her feet on them and tell them to stop.

Also, if she's going to be a service dog, I would personally limit the people she meets/interacts with to friends/family, people you know. She doesn't need to meet everyone and you DON'T want her being friendly/seeking attention later down the road during SD work.

I think having a service dog AND a therapy dog in one is going to be a little hard/counterintuitive, personally, but whatever floats your boat.

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