Having a dog that jumps up on people can be frustrating and embarrassing. While it may seem cute when your puppy does it, a grown dog jumping on visitors or even strangers can pose safety issues. Fortunately, with consistency and positive reinforcement, you can curb this behavior. Here are 5 simple steps to stop your dog from jumping:
- Ignore the Behavior
When your dog jumps on you or others, avoid interacting with them. Don’t pet them, talk to them, or make eye contact. Stand still with your arms crossed and turn away if needed. Only give them attention when all four paws are on the floor. This teaches them that keeping paws down gets rewarded with affection.
- Teach an Alternate Behavior
Train your dog to sit and stay when people approach. Have them sit, reward with a treat, then ask them to stay as you or someone else walks by. Keep reinforcing stay and reward intermittently. This gives them an acceptable behavior instead of jumping. Practice this in low distraction environments at first before trying it when guests visit.
- Use a House Leash
When you’re expecting visitors, clip a lightweight house leash onto your dog’s collar. Don’t attach it to anything – just let them drag it around. Having this leash trailing will help remind them of their manners. Plus, it gives you an easy way to control them if needed. Don’t leave it on unsupervised though, as it could get caught.
- Correct Unwanted Jumping
If your dog starts jumping despite the other training, swiftly turn away and walk the other direction. The leash can help with this. You want to remove your attention the moment those front paws come up. You can also give a sharp “ah ah!” to mark the unwanted behavior. As soon as they stop, praise and reward.
- Teach an Incompatible Behavior
Finally, train a solid “off” cue. With your dog on leash, allow them to jump up and say “off” while gently pushing their paws back down. Reward immediately once down. Gradually delay the reward and mix up when you give the cue. Use high value treats here so they really want to comply. This gives you a way to stop the jumping in the moment if needed.
For these techniques to work, everyone must stick to them consistently, especially no petting when paws are up. Jumping can become an ingrained habit if it gets reinforced, even accidentally at times. So remain vigilant and patient. Some dogs may learn quicker than others.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Never punish or scold your dog for jumping. That can make anxiety and behavior issues worse. Keep training sessions upbeat and rewarding to make it a positive experience for them. Motivating them to make the right choice gets better results than punishing what’s unwanted.
Other Helpful Tips:
- Start training early before the habit is established
- Practice having guests ignore your dog when entering until paws are down
- Have children turn away and stand still if jumped on
- Install a baby gate so you can greet guests without the dog at first
- Keep your dog well exercised to decrease excitability
- Consider crate training for over-excited dogs to calm down
Be patient and consistent, and keep training sessions short and fun. With time, your dog will learn to keep those paws on the floor when people approach. Consistently rewarding calm behavior and limiting rewards for jumping goes a long way. Soon your dog will be greeting politely without launching up for attention.