Dogs all begin life jumping on their mother, siblings, and any other available dogs. A mother dog allows this behavior for quite some time. It is probably a throw back to wolf behavior when pups jumped and licked their mother’s face in order to assist regurgitation and being fed. Dog puppies no longer need their mother to feed them in this manner, but the behavior has remained.
When we bring home a puppy, he is going to try to communicate with us in the same manner as his mother and siblings. Jumping is one of the most common forms of communication. He is trying to get towards our face to lick like he would with his mother. This is the time we need to stop dog jumping; unfortunately, this is when many people make their mistake.
Dogs jump on people because it works: they get something out of it, namely attention. It doesn’t matter what form the attention takes be it petting, pushing off, or yelling at. Anything is still attention, and as long as the dog receives it some of the time, the behavior will continue. The best thing to do is to never reinforce jumping behavior in the first place, and then a puppy quickly learns you don’t like the behavior. We can still fix it in an older dog, but it may take a bit longer as there is a habit to break.
To stop dog jumping, it is really a rather easy process. It requires consistency and patience, but in the end, your dog will understand what you want. Here are the steps:
- Most dogs jump on people for attention. So, the removal of attention is the absolute easiest thing to do.
- If jumping is a problem when first seeing the dog (like when coming home from work), the best thing to do is to enter the home and fully ignore the dog. Spend a few minutes changing clothes, checking your mail, etc. Your dog won’t know why he is being ignored, but it gives him time to settle down adequately.
- Once he has calmed down, you can now pet him. Keep your voice calm! A super happy voice that is high pitched encourages excitement and jumping.
- If your dog becomes excited and attempts to jump on you, quickly and quietly turn so he falls off. He may try more than one time and each time turn so he falls off. You can say something simple like ‘off’ as you turn so he comes to anticipate this word’s meaning.
- As soon as he stays on the ground without jumping for 10 seconds, tell him good dog and immediately pet.
- If he becomes excited, remove attention again. He will quickly learn that he only receives the attention he desires when he is calm and there are 4 feet on the floor.
- What can you do to stop dog jumping on guests at the door? It is actually a very similar process, but it might require a little more effort. Here are some steps:
- He is excited to have guests, so he is likely to jump on them. You must tell all guests prior to coming into the house that you are training him not to jump on people, so no touching him, looking at him, or talking to him until he is calm.
- Teach your dog to ‘wait’ behind a boundary line a few feet away from the door. Teaching him that he is not allowed to greet at the doorway allows your guests to get into the home without as much excitement.
- You can also teach your dog that he must sit to be pet by new people. This is called asking for an incompatible behavior. He cannot sit and jump at the same time. Then, let your guests know he must sit to be pet at all times. This really goes a long way to helping the problem.
- If your dog still seems to be very excited with guests, you might also want to consider exercising him prior to visits. This burns off a lot of energy in advance and will make him less excitable when they come.
The most important thing to remember when training a dog to stop jumping on people is that you have to be 100% consistent. If you or anyone else accidentally or on purpose gives the dog attention when he is jumping, the behavior will continue. In order to stop dog jumping, your dog cannot ever again receive attention for the behavior.
If you follow these tips, your dog will soon learn what you expect from him and you will stop dog jumping.