How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping
Dogs Jumping on people can be an incredibly frustrating behavior problem since it can lead to torn clothes or even injury to a person.
It’s also an unfortunately common behavior problem. In this article, we will be covering why dogs jump on people, as well as a few ways to teach your dog to keep their feet on the floor.
Why do dogs jump?
Dogs like to greet people face to face, and for many dogs, our faces can only be reached when they jump! They also often jump because they can’t contain their excitement as their owner’s arrive home or new guests arrive.
The fact that jumping is considered to be a bad behavior is very much a human construct, as jumping is a very natural behavior for dogs.
Knowing that dogs jump because they are excited and it’s natural can help put training into perspective, as well as make it slightly less frustrating as you work on teaching your dog not to jump.
How to teach your dog not to jump
The best way to teach the dog to not jump is to teach them an incompatible behavior. There are a variety of incompatible behaviors that you can teach, but the important part is that your dog cannot jump while performing the incompatible behavior.
Some of the more popular incompatible behaviors include: sit, go to a bed, or even a simple “four feet on the floor” behavior.
The first step to teaching your dog how to stop jumping is to pick which incompatible behavior you’d like to use and teach it. For this article, we’ll be using the example of teaching a sit.
To get your dog to sit, start by holding a treat over their head, so as their head goes up their butt comes down into a sit position. Mark this with a “good dog!” and reward your dog!
Practice until your dog is sitting reliably on a hand signal or a verbal cue. Once your dog can sit reliably when asked, you’re ready to start using it when someone comes to the door.
It’s ideal to start with your dog on a leash or behind a barrier, such as an exercise pen or baby gate, to prevent them from jumping in the first place.
As you or your guest enters your home, ask your dog to sit. If your dog sits, you or the guest can approach your dog and reward them with attention.
If at any point your dog starts to jump and leaves their sit, the person approaching should take away all attention by turning their back immediately.
Once your dog resumes sitting, you can start approaching again.
Management is an important aspect to controlling jumping behavior. The best approach to stopping jumping is to use a combination of management techniques, such as a leash or a physical barrier to prevent jumping, in addition to training an incompatible behavior like a sit.
In addition, using a mild form a punishment by having a person take away their attention usually is effective in teaching the dog that jumping doesn’t work to get attention, but that keeping their feet on the ground will keep the person approaching.
Practicing consistently is also extremely important to teaching your dog a new habit of keeping all four feet on the ground.
With time, consistency, and practice you’ll be able to teach your dog how to keep all four feet on the ground when a new person approaches and stop their bad habit of jumping on you or guests!