Jumping is a natural, though undesirable, behavior in dogs. Dogs jumping on people can stain or rip their clothes, knock them over, and potentially cause other types of injuries — which means that it’s really important to train a dog not to jump on people as a way of saying hello. In this quick guide, we’ll explain why dogs jump and then explain how to train your dog not to jump.
Dogs greet each other face to face, and they often try to replicate this with people by jumping up so their noses are on our eye level. While this might be natural behavior for a dog, it can be annoying and even scary for humans, especially small children and frail elderly adults. However, dogs don’t understand this, which is why you need to train your dog not to jump on people when they are young. It’s best to do this when they are a puppy before they grow large enough to potentially knock people over.
Proper training is essential for stopping your dog from jumping on people. If you try to push their paws away or yell at them, your dog might think that you are trying to wrestle with them instead of understanding that you don’t want them to jump on you. To them, receiving any attention is a reward, even if that attention is yelling at them or pushing them away. Thus, you need to ignore them when they jump while teaching them other behaviors for greeting people. You also should not give them antlers for dogs or other treats as a distraction if they have already jumped. This will only teach them that jumping is rewarded with delicious treats.
If you live with other people, they need to follow the same training plan with your dog whenever they exit and enter the house. It’s vital that everyone in the house follows the training plan or else the training will not work. If only part of the household works on training the dog not to jump, then your dog will still think it’s okay to jump on at least some people — which isn’t what you are trying to teach them.
The first step in training your dog not to jump is stopping them from doing it in the first place. This might mean putting them in their crate, shutting them in another room, or clipping them to a short, non-retractable leash when your guests arrive. This will help to stop your dog from jumping while you work on training the behavior out of them.
As for the training part, first, you (and whoever else lives in your house) should practice coming and going by yourself. Go in and out of the door quietly and don’t make a fuss that will energize your dog. If they jump on you when you come inside, turn away from them and exit the house again if need be. Only give your dog attention if they have all four paws on the floor. You may need to repeat these exercises dozens of times over the course of weeks before your dog learns to stop jumping.
Next, you can practice with other members outside your household. After you leash your dog and have them sit, ask your guest to enter the house. Once your dog is sitting, have the guest approach. If the dog stands up, have the guest immediately turn and walk away without acknowledging the dog. Tell your dog to sit again, and repeat the process. Once your guest is finally able to greet the dog while they remain sitting, the guest can give them some natural dog treats as a reward.
Remember that the worst thing you can do when your dog jumps is to give them attention, even if it is negative attention in the form of scolding. Turn your back on your dog and ignore them until they have all four paws on the floor. By taking this strategy, your dog will learn that they only receive attention for non-jumping behaviors, which will encourage them to stop jumping and stand or sit politely instead.
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