Ask Dog Lady: Teach puppy it's not OK to jump

Monica Collins

Dear Dog Lady,

I have a 9-month-old pit bull/terrier mix named Lilah. She constantly jumps on me, on other members of my household and on visitors.

I have tried correcting her behavior verbally, by gently dominating her and by ignoring her, but nothing seems to help. Do you have any suggestions for other ways I can train her that will be more effective? Is this a behavior that will decrease as she ages?

-- Wes

Dear Wes,

Leapin’ Lilah owns you. You have not made a concerted effort to train her, so the dog believes it’s OK to jump on the nearest upright warm body.

Begin a new consistent campaign to corral this puppy. Verbally, the best you can do is to teach Lilah to sit, stay! This is a very effective command, employing two simple words and concepts. Sit! Stay! It keeps a jumping dog in check -- especially if you use seductive treats to lure your muscular pet into a calm, attentive position.

The control, however, don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got the zing.

You must be a repetitive military leader – Generalissimo Lilah Boss – training her many times daily (read up on the “sit/stay” command in a current dog training manual or on the Internet). Jumping dogs can be so annoying and even dangerous if their target is elderly or infirm.

This has nothing to do with age and everything to do with opportunity. The dog believes jumping up is a good thing to do to greet you, family or guests, get food and attention.

Please teach Lilah differently. A 9-month-old pit bull bounding on people is not at all amusing.

Dear Dog Lady,

I recently became the stepmother to a tweenager, a 12-year-old. My husband is a great guy, but he doesn’t discipline her. When she visits our house every weekend, she stays up all night watching TV or talking on the phone and then sleeps all day.

Every since I moved in to my husband’s house after our marriage a couple of months ago, his daughter pesters him to let her have a dog. She wants the dog to stay with us because her mother won’t allow a dog in that house.

I work from home but I have no desire to take care of a dog during the week. My husband thinks the dog is a wonderful idea and is looking for a female Bichon Frise or Shih Tzu.

How can I stop this dog thing? I really don’t want to be responsible for a dog I don’t want and will probably dislike.

-- Carma


Unfortunately, you don’t have a dog in this fight. This is between a guilty father and his wounded daughter. You and the supposed dog are mere supporting players in others’ drama.

Start talking. You need to convey to your new hubby that you cannot be expected to care for this dog when he and his daughter are not at home -- although dogs have a way of heart worming themselves into human lives.

Usually, chaotic canine relationships start off so badly but ease over time. As life goes on, people must make room in their lives to care for the new pet, and they usually do.

Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is Contact her at