Pets' corner: How do I stop my Labrador jumping up on visitors?

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The Independent Online

My three-year-old male Labrador has started jumping up on visitors when they come into our home. I am worried he might hurt someone. How can I stop this behaviour? Monica Hertz, Cardiff

Jumping up is a common problem, and it can be more of an issue with such a big breed of dog. Your Labrador could injure somebody and if he did, you as the owner could face prosecution. The law is very stringent in this area, whether your dog harms someone accidentally or intentionally. And although you can't plan for unexpected guests, if you put in the groundwork with training, it will become easier to stop your Labrador jumping on them.

One of the easiest ways to prevent jumping is to stock up on treats or chews big enough so your dog will take some time to eat them. Then position your dog bed near the front door, and have a bowl of the chews close by, but out of reach of the dog. To train, walk towards the front door and when the dog follows give him a chew. When he is on his way to his bed say, "Good boy! Go to bed!"

Practise without people at the door until you are confident enough to do it with visitors. Always keep calm and give your dog lots of praise when he is good. If you don't have time to do the exercise when someone comes to the door, put the dog in another room so it doesn't spoil the training. A great book to understand more about your dog's behaviour is What is my dog thinking?, by Gwen Bailey.

Send your queries to The Independent Magazine, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail petscorner@independent.co.uk

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