While your cocker spaniel is the best thing that could have happened to you, they are social creatures and can sometimes become overly social. It’s okay when your cocker spaniel jumps in excitement to tell you just how much they missed you. However, if they threaten to knock over almost everyone they come across in their excitement, you need to do something about it.
Too much jumping around could cause accidents, both inside and outside of your home. This is because a fully grown cocker spaniel can weigh between 12 and 22 kg and this is enough weight to knock down an adult human. So you can only imagine what such weight could do to a child or an elderly person, whose balance isn’t always so sturdy. If you get knocked down by a dog, it is easy to injure yourself, especially if you get knocked into furniture or out in the garden etc.
Training a cocker spaniel not to jump on you or your guests and family members should start when they are still puppies. However, if you skipped this lesson in puppy training, all hope isn’t lost and you can still train this trait out of your older dog. It might take more time and effort, but with consistency and patience, you can still get your dog to stay still even when they are excited.
You must be wondering, how can I train that streak of energy to stay calm even when they see their favourite treat? Well, here’s how.
Stay Calm when your dog jumps up and don’t stroke them
When your cocker spaniel sees you and starts to jump around, your most likely response is to tame them and pet them. However, you’re unknowingly encouraging them to jump around some more because they think that you are happy with their behaviour.
The best thing to do when your dog seems all jumpy and excited is to stay calm. Do not respond to any of their antics, or they’ll think you’re happy with them. Instead, stay calm, and ignore all their effort to get your attention.
Ignore Your Dog’s Efforts
As harsh as this might sound, the simple trick to training your cocker spaniel not to jump up is to ignore them when they start jumping around. If the dog carries on its antics, walk away or turn your back on them. This might sound hurtful to your dog, but if they see a negative reaction from their favourite human, it won’t take them long to realise that their behaviour is not welcome.
With time, your dog will learn that jumping around is not acceptable behaviour. Most dogs just want to please their owners so if your dog sees you displeased, they will stop being jumpy so they can win back your love and attention.
Refrain From Using Punitive Measures
Regardless of what you might’ve heard from dog trainers or read on the internet, do not use any measures that would hurt your cocker spaniel. Training your dog should not be a painful process for you or the cocker spaniel. Here are some of the strategies you should avoid:
- Kneeing your cocker spaniel
- Spraying the dog with water
- Hitting them on the nose
- Squeezing their paws to force them down
- Stepping on your dog’s paws
- Pushing your dog away
Imagine if you happily ran towards your best friend or a family member to hug them and they stopped you in your tracks by kneeing you in the chest. That would hurt, right? That’s precisely how your cocker spaniel feels when you use your punitive measures on them.
Step Back When They Start Jumping
Another strategy you can use with your cocker spaniel is to step back every time they start jumping towards you. The dog will miss their target and probably think that you are playing. Be careful because this strategy can go sideways as the dog thinks you are in for some games. Wear a stern face as you step back to discourage the dog from jumping on you. Tell all your family members and visitors to do this to discourage the dog from jumping.
If all these simple strategies fail at training your cocker spaniel not to jump, try the following more stricter options.
The Walk-in Greet Strategy
When you open your door, your cocker spaniel will most likely spring at you and start jumping all around you. Ignore them, even though it is the hardest thing you will have to do. If necessary, turn your back against your dog and get busy doing other things such as hanging your coat or walking into the house. Your dog will soon realise that you are not responding to their jumping.
Let your cocker spaniel calm down and acknowledge their calmness. You can praise them, pet them or even give them an edible treat for their good behaviour. If they start jumping around again, repeat the process. It is important to keep practising the strategy, cocker spaniels are intelligent dogs and you will soon learn what earns him rewards and what does not.
Signal Your Dog With Your Hands
If your cocker spaniel understands hand signals, you can signal him to sit or lie down when they start jumping around. If this does not work, get an edible treat and bring it close to their nose. Once they sniff the treat, move it slightly towards the back of your cocker spaniel’s head and make him sit. Put the treat near your feet to make the dog lie down.
At this point, your dog will be lying on its belly, and voila! mission accomplished. Practice this strategy consistently until your cocker spaniel understands that being still and lying on their belly is the most desirable behaviour when they see you. Make sure to always reward their positive behaviour with a treat.
Involve Family Members and Guests
Talk to your family members and any guests who come into contact with your cocker spaniel to make them understand the training you are giving to your dog. Discourage them from petting your dog whilst it is jumping around. Advise them to give the dog zero attention when it jumps and also teach them to give your the same basic dog commands you are.
Tell your friends and relatives to acknowledge and reinforce all the positive behaviour in your dog and encourage them to praise your dog when it isn’t jumping up and down, and if possible, reward the dog with an edible treat.
While it is heart warming to see your cocker spaniel jump up and down in excitement when they see you, that habit can become disastrous if you keep encouraging it. There are alternative ways for your dog to convey their excitement and the best course of action is to train your cocker spaniel not to jump.
You can train them by being calm when they start to jump, ignoring them, refraining from punitive behaviour training and rewarding them when they stay calm. Talk to your friends and family to also adopt your training methods for it to be the most effective.