Dogs jump for all kinds of reasons: attention, excitement or not knowing what else to do when they see a person.
Does your dog jump on you as if they've got springs on their 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 they grow up.
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 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 who jumps on visitors. To manage your dog's behavior, you could do one of the following before your guest arrives:
- Put your dog in their crate.
- Confine them in another room.
- Restrain your dog on a leash and ask them to sit while the guest enters. Be sure to reward good behavior.
This will prevent jumping while they are learning proper behavior.
Teach your dog that they receive no attention for jumping on you or anyone else. You can turn your back and only pet your dog when all four paws are on the floor.
Teach your dog to do something that is incompatible with jumping up, such as sitting. They can't sit and jump up at the same time. If they are not sitting, they get no attention.
It is important to 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.
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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 them.
- 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 them you don't want your dog to jump.
- Hand the person a treat or get a treat ready in your hand to reward your pup for good behavior.
- Ask your dog to "sit."
- Tell the person they can pet your dog and give them 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. If someone is encouraging jumping, you can simply say no thank you when they want to greet your dog.
Jumps on you when you come in the door:
- Keep greetings quiet and low-key.
- If your dog jumps on you, ignore them. Turn and go out the door.
- Try again. You may have to come in and go out dozens of times before your dog learns they only gets your attention when they keep 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 them away. Just ignore them until all four feet are on the ground.