Four on the Floor – Layer 1

Objective:  The objective of this exercise is to teach your puppy to keep four feet on the floor when people approach.

The first layer of training will build value for orienting to you and keeping their head down as people approach

Step by Step Instructions Comments
Have good treats with you whenever you go out with your puppy or dog  
As a person approaches, place treats on the ground in front of you as rapidly as your puppy is eating them. You are providing a high rate of reinforcement to build value for you
When the person reaches to touch your puppy or dog, continue to reinforce heavily with treats on the ground Strengthens the behaviour of keeping four feet on the floor in the presence of strangers
Reinforce the whole interaction with a person

Early in the training, if reinforcement stops, the puppy will jump up

Over time, you can reinforce less frequently as the puppy learns that four feet on the floor brings attention from the owner and other people

Treats:  come from you, not the stranger

  • Puppy learns to keep attention on you
  • Your dog or puppy can be enthusiastic when greeting people  but in time they learn that it is more rewarding to focus back to you

Treats on the floor

  • Keeps the puppy’s head low reducing the chance they will jump up
When to Advance  
When your puppy can keep their feet on the ground as a stranger approaches
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