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Dog training is a necessary activity that keeps your pet sharp and well-behaved. Teach your dog basic commands that can strengthen your bond with your pooch. While hiring a professional animal trainer or consulting an expert behaviorist isn’t necessary for most dog training, many different factors can influence how a dog responds during training sessions. Dog owners should focus on incorporating the best tools, techniques, and training tips to make the most out of adult dog or new puppy training. Successful dog trainer Brandon McMillan has three different methods for teaching your dog the off command.



A Brief Introduction to Brandon McMillan

Brandon McMillan is a renowned animal trainer who has spent most of his life working with domesticated and wild animals. The Emmy Award-winning host of the critically acclaimed CBS series Lucky Dogs comes from a family of wild animal trainers—Brandon began helping raise tigers by the age of four. The animals he’s trained have appeared in countless television commercials and motion pictures, including the comedy blockbuster, The Hangover (2009). In 2016, the successful dog trainer released his first book, Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. After spending a year training a service dog for an injured combat veteran, Brandon realized his calling was in training dogs to change people’s lives. To further his goals, Brandon co-founded the Argus Service Dog Foundation, an organization that trains service dogs to assist veterans with disabilities.

Method 1: Teaching Your Dog the “Off” Command Using Positive Reinforcement

Controlling dog behavior is essential to ensure your canine best friend stays safe at home and at the dog park when they’re around other dogs. You can train a dog to learn the “off” command using positive reinforcement.

  1. Keep your dog in place. Step on your dog’s leash as you did with the stay command. Have a food treat ready.
  2. Get your pup ready. Crouch down and get excited. Say your dog’s name, but don’t call them up to your chest (you don’t want to send mixed signals here). Hold a dog treat up above their head.
  3. Use the off cue. Any time your dog jumps, say “off.” Use a firm voice. Let the leash do the work—it should stop them in their tracks if they jump.
  4. Use positive reinforcement. Once your dog stops jumping, wait about 10 to 15 seconds, then reward them with verbal praise, tasty treats, or petting. You don’t want to reward them right away because doing so will teach them to jump, then stop for a treat. If they jump during that window of time, reset and retry.
  5. Repeat. Once your dog gets the technique with you in a crouching position, stand up, and repeat the process. You can start eliminating treats after a few sessions.
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Method 2: Teaching Your Dog the “Off” Command by Grabbing Their Paws

This off-command variation requires you to grab your dog’s paws when they jump on you. It typically works better with medium to large dogs. (If your dog is reactive when their paws are touched, do not use this technique.)

  1. Grab your dog’s paws. When your dog jumps up on you, grab and hold their paws while repeating the off command. You want to make the whole idea of jumping up on you boring for them by using a little bit of reverse psychology.
  2. Release and reward. Release their paws and look for 10 to 15 seconds of no jumping. If they make it that long without jumping, reward them.
  3. Repeat the process. Teaching your dog this command will take practice and patience, but eventually, they should learn to understand. Don’t be discouraged if your dog does not pick up the command during the first session.

Method 3: Teaching Your Dog the “Off” Command by Using a Penny Bottle

This variation of the “off” command follows the same process as version one, except this time, you’ll also use a penny bottle, which is an old water or soda bottle filled with 10–20 coins. The idea of using the bottle is similar to tapping the table or pedestal as Brandon demonstrates during the no command: It offers a disruptive sound to get your dog off of you, but it shouldn’t replace the voice command.

  1. Use the penny bottle. When your dog jumps, say “off ” and shake the penny bottle.
  2. Combine the sound with the verbal command. While the penny bottle’s sound can help discourage your dog from jumping, don’t allow it to replace your command. The goal is to have them respond to the command, not the penny bottle, so use both in tandem when teaching your dog this command.
  3. Correct the behavior. Make sure to correct your dog when they jump on you. Continue to practice this basic off command often until it sticks.

Want to Learn More About Training the Goodest Boy or Girl?

Your dream of having a dog who understands words like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and—crucially—”no” is just a MasterClass Annual Membership away. The only things you’ll need to train up a well-behaved pup are your laptop, a big bag of treats, and our exclusive instructional videos from superstar animal trainer Brandon McMillan.