Is your dog jumping on people constantly?
If your dog has a habit of jumping on you or your house guests as soon as they walk in the front door, you have a problem on your hands. Dirty paws and sharp claws can ruin clothing.
The bigger the dog, the worse the problem since you can easily be knocked over. In this article we’ll learn more about why dogs jump and then look at a few keys to training your dog to stop jumping on people.
Why Do Dogs Jump on People?
While you may not have thought about it, understanding why a dog jumps on people is an important first step to correcting the bad habit.
Jumping on people is their way of greeting you. When dogs greet each other, they tend to smell each other’s faces (among other things). But because you are much taller than a dog, they have to jump up to reach your face.
So part of your training to stop the dog from jumping is teaching them that they have to greet you without jumping up on you. They need to know that jumping up on you will not work and that staying on the ground will.
It’s a matter of retraining an instinct. So you don’t have to assume your dog is ill-behaved or more difficult than other dogs. They are simply doing what comes naturally to them.
With that in mind, how can you stop your dog from following that instinct to jump up toward your face? Here are a few strategies that expert trainers recommend.
The Passive Training Method
This is passive in the sense that you aren’t actively spending time training. Instead, you are changing your own behavior to signal to the dog that it needs to change its behavior.
To stop your dog from jumping using this method, start making a habit out of the following things:
- Ignore your dog when it jumps up. Don’t say no. Don’t push it off. Just cross your arms over your chest, look away and don’t speak to it. Basically, act like you’re giving your dog the silent treatment.
- Immediately give attention when all four paws are on the ground. As soon as it gets down and has all paws on the ground, smile and pet your dog. If it jumps back up again, stop.
This technique is basic but the important things to keep in mind with this technique are the following:
- Be consistent. This won’t solve the problem in one day. You have to continue this for the long term until your dog starts to make the connections. Update your friends and family before they come over that they should follow these guidelines as well.
- Be immediate. The reward of your attention when they are on the ground is just as important as the punishment of being ignored when they jump. So it’s important that you immediately give your dog attention as soon as all 4 paws are on the ground and immediately stop when the paws lift up off the ground again.
- Practice both: with just the punishment when it jumps or just the reward when it’s on the ground, your dog will not learn as quickly that it should stop jumping. It needs the combination of punishment for jumping and reward for staying on the ground in order to modify its behavior.
Even with these considerations in mind, this can be a slower method than more active training techniques. If you are not in a rush or you don’t have time to actively train your dog, this will work in time.
But we recommend using this in combination with an active training method to see quicker results.
The Two Person Method
As the name implies, this training method requires two people. And when done consistently and effectively, it will teach your dog to quietly and patiently wait to be greeted by people rather than to jump up on them in excitement.
This works best with someone your dog already knows and likes (and someone who has the time to work with you consistently to train your dog). This can be your partner, your roommate, your child, a neighbor or anyone else who is up to the task.
Here is how to do it:
- Put the dog on a leash and have one person hold that leash.
- The second person should stand about 12 feet or so away.
- The one with the leash instructs the dog to sit.
- As soon as the dog sits, the second person begins to slowly walk toward the dog.
- Out of excitement, the dog will probably get up. As soon as it does, the second person should immediately stop walking, turn around and walk back to their starting position.
- Repeat this. So long as the dog is sitting, the person should keep walking toward the dog. As soon as it gets up, the person should turn around and walk away.
The dog will learn fairly quickly what it needs to do to keep the person approaching.
If you absolutely can’t find anyone who has the time or ability to train your dog consistently, you can, as an alternative, attach the leash to a tree or a pole and do the method yourself. But it works better with two people.
Tips for Training Your Dog to Stop Jumping
Here are some tips for making sure your training methods are effective.
- This is the most important. You need to be consistent with passive and active training. In order for your dog to figure out how it needs to correct its behavior, it needs to have lots of opportunities to learn.
- Establish yourself as the alpha. Your dog needs to know that you are the alpha of this pack. That means be calm but be assertive. And be the pack leader at all times. Reward all good behavior and punish all bad behavior.
- Don’t give in. It’s tempting to shower your dog with attention once you walk in the door. Their excitement at seeing you makes you feel good, too. But you need to stay strong. Don’t give them attention if they are jumping up and down. Wait for them to calm down and then give them plenty of attention and love.
- Be patient. Changing a habit takes time. You won’t see immediate results on the first attempt. You have to stick with it even when your dog doesn’t seem to be learning a thing. Eventually, they will make the connection and correct their behavior if you are willing to stick with it and be consistent.
By following these tips and techniques, you will able to train your dog to stop jumping up on people. This will make your home a happier and more enjoyable place to live for both you and your dog.
The best part about training is that, even though it takes some patience and commitment, once your dog learns, they will follow that lesson for years to come. They want to do everything they can to make you happy so once they know they should stop jumping to please you, they will.
So start training your dog today and stick with it until you see the results!