If your dog has jumped up and you've tried (and failed) to stop him it can be embarrassing, especially if you know he's heard you, but have you ever wondered if you might be encouraging your dog to jump up without even realising it?
Stopping your dog from jumping up isn't just something that would be nice to happen, it could stop them having - or causing - an injury.
The point is, if you're happy for your dog to jump up when they greet you but you'd rather they didn't apply the same bouncy greeting to small children who may visit your home, you need a plan. You need to teach your dog not jump up when you don't want them to jump up.
This - stopping a dog from jumping up - is actually one of the most common behaviour problems that many, many dog owners struggle with, often throughout the life of the dog.
So what can you do to stop your dog jumping up when you don't want them to?
The best way to stop a dog from jumping up people
I could spend the best part of an hour detailing multiple behavioural modifications that I've personally observed being used to teach dogs not to jump up.
I could. But I won't.
Instead, let's just focus on the one technique that I have seen used to the greatest effect and the one I have personally used for the past couple of decades. Basically, this is the training technique that has delivered the best results for stopping a dog jumping up that I have either watched or deployed.
I'm going to outline here the best technique for teaching your dog not to jump up people. You can read it, use it and go on with your day. Below, I will go in to more of the foundational principles behind modifying unwanted behaviour (such as jumping up) and how we sometimes uniwittingly reward and endorse dog behaviour that we don't actually want.
9 Simple steps to stopping your dog jumping up:
When your dog jumps up
- Do not shout, speak or push them away
- Turn your back, fold your arms
- Repeat this action as many times as you need to
- Eventually the dog will stop attempting to jump up
- When the dog has stopped trying to jump up, keep your arms folded and slowly turn to face the dog
- At this point, your dog may try to jump up again. If he does, repeat the action. With no drama or noise, turn away, keep your arms folded
- You are waiting until the dog is calm and not jumping. When this happens. Just reward with your voice: "Good boy / girl". Don't pat them or move your body position.
- When you speak, the dog might try and jump up again. If he does, go back to step two and repeat.
- Eventually your dog will realise that jumping up results in nothing, not jumping up results in a vocal reward
It sounds very simple. Because it is.
You follow this plan and follow it consistently and your dog will learn what's happening. Ingrain the following in your mind:
I am trying to teach my dog to understand that jumping up results in nothing and not jumping up results in verbal praise.
If you can, enlist the help of a dog knowledgeable friend to repeat the steps above. If you need to teach your dog to not jump up other people, this is the best way to do it.
Why dogs jump up people
Dogs jump up because they are excited and they want their face to be near your face.
If you see puppies greet their mother upon returning to them, they all gravitate toward her face. This is natural for dogs and it's natural for them to want to do it to their favourite people too.
Why dog owners accidentally train their dogs to jump up
Think about most puppies.
They come in to our home and the cute little fluff balls jump up on our legs and it's cute and we engage them in play. They learn this is a behaviour that is rewarded.
As they get older, some dogs will perform a behaviour even if it results in them getting shoved or scolded. They want the engagement. The engagement IS the reward.
If you want your dog to truly learn that jumping up is an undesirable behaviour, fold your arms, turn your back and be patient. Repeat this consistently. It works. Trust me.