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July 21, 2010

Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up

dog chihuahua

Cary Smith/HSUS

Dogs greet each other nose-to-nose and want to do the same with us. Since our noses are not at their level, they jump up to reach them.

Does your dog jump on you as if he's got springs on his feet? Like it or not, we humans are to blame. We not only permit this behavior, we encourage it.

We know we shouldn't encourage jumping, but a fuzzy puppy is just too cute to resist. We forget that cute behavior in a puppy can become a real nuisance when he grows up. You might enjoy an exuberant greeting after a long, hard day at work, but not if you end up with muddy pawprints on your new suit.

Allowing your dog to jump on people can be dangerous, too. You can end up scratched and bruised. A child or frail adult can be knocked down and seriously injured.

Solving a behavior problem like jumping requires both management of the situation and training your dog.

Management

Management means you must control the situation so your dog doesn't have the opportunity to jump up. Use management techniques until your dog is adequately trained not to jump.

As an example, let's take the dog that jumps on visitors. To manage your dog's behavior, you could do one of the following before your guest arrives:

  • Put your dog in his crate.
  • Confine him in another room.
  • Restrain your dog on a leash.

This will prevent the jumping while he's learning proper behavior.

Training

Teach your dog that he gets no attention if he's jumping on you or anyone else.

Teach your dog to do something that is incompatible with jumping up, such as sitting. He can't sit and jump up at the same time. If he's not sitting, he gets no attention.

Important! Be consistent. Everyone in your family must follow the training program all the time. You can't let your dog jump on people in some circumstances, but not others.

Training techniques: When your dog…

 

Jumps on other people:

  • Ask a family member or friend to assist with training. Your assistant MUST be someone your dog likes and wants to greet. Your dog should never be forced to greet someone who scares him.
  • Give your dog the "sit" command. (This exercise assumes your dog already knows how to "sit.")
  • The greeter approaches you and your dog. If your dog stands up, the greeter immediately turns and walks away
  • Ask your dog to "sit," and have the greeter approach again.
  • Keep repeating until your dog remains seated as the greeter approaches.
  • If your dog does remain seated, the greeter can give your dog a treat as a reward.

When you encounter someone while out walking your dog, you must manage the situation and train your dog at the same time.

  • Stop the person from approaching by telling him you don't want your dog to jump on him.
  • Hand the person a treat.
  • Ask your dog to "sit."
  • Tell the person he can pet your dog and give him the treat as long as your dog remains seated.

Some people will tell you they don't mind if your dog jumps on them, especially if your dog is small and fluffy or a puppy. But you should mind. Remember you need to be consistent in training. If you don't want your dog to jump on people, stick to your training and don't make exceptions.

Jumps on you when you come in the door:

  • Keep greetings quiet and low-key.
  • If your dog jumps on you, ignore him. Turn and go out the door.
  • Try again. You may have to come in and go out dozens of times before your dog learns he only gets your attention when he keeps all four feet on the floor.

Jumps on you when you're sitting:
If you are sitting and your dog jumps up on you, stand up. Don't talk to your dog or push him away. Just ignore him until all four feet are on the ground.

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