How to Stop Your Dog from Jumping
Your brand-new sweater is ruined, your neighbor’s child was knocked to the ground, and you don’t dare have guests come to your house anymore. All of this, and more, because of your sky-high jumping dog. Fortunately, this is one canine issue that can be easily solved.
Why Do Dogs Jump?
Simply put, dogs jump for joy, so a jumping dog is a happy, enthusiastic creature. If you own one of these pups, you know that jumping is an incredibly annoying dog behavior. On the positive side, it is your dog’s way of enthusiastically greeting and saying, I love you. The more exciting and expressive the event, such as when you come home from work, the more emotional the scene and the higher the jumps.
Why is Jumping an Inappropriate Behavior?
Besides ruining your new sweater, here are a few more of things the inappropriate jumping behaviors can cause:
- Soiling of clothes by muddy paws
- Knocking over people including children, the elderly, and others who are unstable on their feet
- Scaring people who are afraid of dogs
- Instigating another, jealous dog, to fight
- Hurting their own joints from constant jumping
It’s All About Attention
Unfortunately, the more attention your dog gets when he jumps, even if it is negative attention, the more he’ll keep doing it. For example, if you push your dog away when he jumps on you, he may think you’re in for a great and fun game of wrestling. The more you push, the harder and higher he’ll jump. Even when you yell at him, he knows he has your attention. Likewise, even if you step on his paw or knee him in the chest, which hopefully you do not do, he is succeeding in getting what he wants – your attention.
Four on the Floor
In other words, keeping all four paws on the floor describes what you want from your dog: a calm, non-jumping behavior, with all four of his feet planted firmly on the floor.
When your dog launches into his crazy, “I haven’t seen you in forever” jumping behavior, remove all emotion from the scene. Approach him calmly and quietly. In addition, don’t pet or otherwise touch him, don’t yell at, or reprimand him, and ultimately, don’t pay any attention to him at all until he calms down.
Treats, Treats, and More Treats
Instead of looking for your attention as his reward, the secret to success is to redirect him to focus on treats, and I’m recommending high-value, yummy, to-die-for treats. Timing here is essential. Make sure he gets a treat even before he can think about jumping on you. Think of it like this, he is being guided to a positive (non-jumping) behavior instead of being scolded or pushed, and therefore getting your (negative) attention. Still, he gets what he wants – YOU. With this positive approach, your dog is being trained to want to do something because by doing so, really great things happen.
Consistency is Key
In your home, everyone needs to be on board with how to work the four on the four rule. The same goes for when you have guests over. Make sure you have stashes of treats all throughout your living space, so it’s just a matter of a quick grab when it appears the conditions are ripe for jumping.
Here are the specific steps on how to train your dog not to jump.
When You Are Working with Your Dog
When you begin the no-jump training with your dog, the secret is to set up staged practice sessions before he even has the chance to jump on you. With this approach as your starting point, follow the steps below.
- When the situation occurs when your dog would normally jump on you, enter the room in a relaxed, quiet, calm manner. Don’t be loud or quick-moving.
- Especially as you begin this training, ignore your dog until he is completely calm before proceeding.
- Don’t touch your dog in any way: no pats, pushes, or other physical engaging action.
- Ask for a sit and reward him with yummy goodies when he does.
- If he jumps, disengage, walk away, and go through the steps again.
When Guests Come to Your Home
Stage this practice lesson with someone you know and repeat it until your dog learns not to jump on strangers and guests.
- Have your actor person come to and enter your home.
- Throw some treats on the floor as soon as the person enters the house.
- Keep tossing treats as the person comes up to your dog and pets him while he’s eating the treats.
- Keep repeating this process, slowly extending the amount of time when the person comes up to and greets the dog.
- Be sure to keep throwing treats down the entire time.
- Gradually you can feed fewer treats and he should still behave the way you want.
- If he doesn’t, then go back and begin the process again.
To make this work, you need to carefully time when you throw down the treats. It needs to be a quick action. If you miss your timing, and your dog jumps on the person, instruct them to walk away and you stop throwing any treats. Pretty soon he will realize that four on the floor brings good things, while jumping brings him nothing.