One of the most important commands for dogs to learn/understand is the “Off” command - which is used to tell a dog to get its paws off of someone or something. Dogs jump up to get to something they want… attention, a tasty bit of food, or a place to rest. Teaching your pup the “Off” command is essential to establishing healthy boundaries for you, the people around you, and your home.
In order to effectively train your dog to understand the “Off” command, it is imperative that you are consistent in your training. Dogs, & especially puppies, cannot grasp the concept of “sometimes.” So if you allow them to jump on certain people or on furniture some of the time, then in their minds, that behavior is acceptable. Inconsistent enforcement of this behavior can make it difficult for a dog to learn the command and to know what is off limits and what is not.
The verbal command is “Off” so be sure NOT to use the word “Down” (which is used for another command)
When you see your dog with its paws up on the counter or a human, give the command “Off”. Use a stern voice, but do not yell.
If needed - as you give the command - you may gently swipe your pup’s paws off of the area or lure them off with a treat.
React quickly, as soon as the action has taken place, so they can connect your command with its action.
If desired, you may give your dog the “Sit” command as a replacement behavior.
Once they have all 4 paws on the ground or sit - wait a minimum of 3 seconds and reward with a treat, praise or attention.
Training the “Off” command is different from other basic commands because you need to wait until your dog is behaving inappropriately. If you are using treats as a reward, make sure you have some with you or in close reach. Also, to achieve success, all members of your family have to be on board with the training. Remember, consistency is the key.
When in public, limit your dog’s options by keeping them on-leash and using the command “off” or “sit” before giving permission to greet. Your dog needs practice meeting all kinds of people and our Tuesday Drop-in Manners and Obedience Classes from 6:30 – 7:30pm are a great opportunity to get that practice in a controlled environment.