Train Your Dog “Off”
Very often during puppy and adult group classes, I’m asked to teach clients the “off” command. Yesterday, a puppy pet parent admitted to standing up when eating all meals, as his puppy mugs him for food. Follow this one super easy step for teaching your dog “off.”
When to Use the “Off” Cue
Use the “off” cue when asking your dog to jump off something, such as:
Use the “off” cue after your dog understands not to jump on guests. Think of it as a reminder when she gets really excited. If your dog continues to jump on guests, it’s time for remedial “no jumping” practice).
How to Teach “Off”
- When you notice your puppy (or dog) on the sofa, grab a few pieces of yummy treats and walk over to the sofa.
- Say “off” while tossing yummy treats on the ground. Voila!
- Your dog will jump right down and wolf down the treats. If he doesn’t, you’re probably not using super yummy treats.
Yes, it’s that simple. Soon your dog will learn “off” means to jump down for yummy treats. You’re not rewarding your puppy for jumping on the sofa. Instead, you are rewarding her for jumping off.
RELATED: Choosing Dog Training Treats
About treats, they really do matter. Would you get out of a warm bed for pennies? Probably not. What if I offered you a $100 bill? I think you would get the point. 🙂
Punishment Doesn’t Work
When polling past clients, most walk over and push their dogs off the sofa or bed. Well, it works sometimes. Opposition reflux comes into play here. You push and your dog pushes back against you. The more you push, the more she pushes back, which is not working. Plus, using a physical cue, such as touching or pushing, is hard to fade unless you really like walking over and pushing your dog off the furniture every time. A verbal cue can be given from across the room so it’s much easier. 🙂
Another thing about punishment is it’s labor intensive. Let’s say you’re speeding down I65 and you’re pulled over by the police and given a speeding ticket. For the next week or two, depending on how expensive your speeding ticket was, you’ll drive slow. But what happens later? You start scanning your environment for police cars. After a week or two, you notice a lack of police cars so what happens? Well, you know, you start speeding again. Not as fast as you once were, you’ll usually build in 5 mph increments. As you’re giggling, this is punishment. It’s a short term solution that causes fear and confusion.
Tossing a few treats on the ground when teaching “off” provides a plentiful ROI (return on investment).
Oh, and One More Thing
There’s nothing wrong with allowing your dog or puppy to nap on the sofa or sleep with you at night. Many, many years ago, someone mentioned dominance with allowing dogs on furniture. This is a myth. Snuggle with your fuzzy baby. 🙂
READ ALSO: Stop Your Dog From Digging