Dogs love jumping up at us to say hello. Sometimes there’s no better remedy after coming home from a day at work than being greeted by your excitable pooch as they leap up to your chest for an unexpectant hug. Their show of pure affection may be endearing, however encouraging this habit isn’t sensible. If your dog does jump up at people you will know that it’s not always well received, and can lead to some awkward encounters down the line. As always, we have Nikki Martin, Helen Gerard and Helen Eade, our experts, on hand to explain to us how to train your dog not to jump up.
Helen Gerard, Naturally Clever Canines
Dogs often jump up at people due to being excited to see them and being unintentionally reinforced for it as a puppy. Often we allow puppies to jump up as they are little and cute but when they become full grown dogs it is no longer seen as acceptable. Even pushing a dog off is seen as reinforcement to some dogs.
There are several ways to stop jumping up and all involve reinforcing what you want more of. One of the methods we use is asking for an incompatible behaviour such as a Sit (it has to be a behaviour which they know) and then giving them a reward for doing so. A reward can be anything the dog desires so it may be attention, a treat or a toy. Another method is using clicker training and clicking for all 4 feet being on the floor and rewarding.
We cover all these issues in our training classes in much more detail.
Helen Eade, Social Paws
Dogs often jump to get to the same height as you or have previously been given attention or a reward for doing so. The best way to stop jumping is to ignore the behaviour you do not wish them to do and by rewarding them once their four feet are on the ground. Prevention is always better - teaching the correct behaviour which is expected of the dog. For this I have a handful of treats in which I place low down in my hand. As the dog comes to me with all four feet on the ground I give him or her the treats. If he or she jumps up I then ignore or turn my back. Once the dog is responding well to this you can then start proofing the behaviour by moving your hands higher up or even waving a toy around. The aim of this is that the dog will only get a treat once his or her feet are on the ground and that we are setting them up for a realistic situation where kids may run up waving arms or even encouraging the behaviour.
If you have tried the above and are still having problems you can introduce the 'off' command (please teach this cue first) and if he/she does not respond take yourself out of the situation if your dog keeps jumping up. So jumping up essentially means no fun as you've taken yourself out of the equation. On returning if your dog is now nice and calm with all feet on the ground you can reward this behaviour with his or her favourite treat.
Nikki Martin, Dickson Dog Training
Dogs jumping up means they nearly always get attention, even if it is negative attention. It’s important to discourage this behaviour by acting upon it. Start by ignoring them, if they jump up turn your back. You’ll also need to teach them an ‘OFF’ command. The most common problem is people will say ‘DOWN’ when they jump up, which is often the same for command associated with lying down. Make sure it’s a new command, I find a good one to go with is ‘OFF’. When the dog backs off after the you reward them with a treat. Be consistent and repeat that behaviour until they break the habit. Always remember to never praise or encourage them to jump. Follow these steps and you’ll find your pooch becomes more grounded.