A very common problem that many dog owners have to deal with at some point is when their dog jumps up at people.
This jumping can be either jumping up at the owner or only visitors, and it’s usually when the dog is overexcited about something – either food, walks, or merely overexcitement when it comes to greeting you after you’ve been out of the house for a few hours.
While many people enjoy such an excited response on their arrival, it can also cause problems, especially if you have a larger dog who has the weight and power to knock you over without any trouble at all.
So what can you do to stop this behavior from occurring? In this guide, we’re going to give you all the answers you’ve been looking for.
Why Does Your Dog Jump?
When your dog was a puppy, it was natural for them to greet their mother by jumping up to lick her face as a sign of greeting and affection.
Dogs (especially between six and eighteen months old), will often try to jump up to lick the faces of humans, too – and they usually do this when they are excited to see you.
First Things First
First of all, it’s important to realize that you shouldn’t encourage your dog to jump up to greet you if you want to change this behavior, otherwise you’ll be giving them mixed signals.
To help with this, you’ll need to be calm when you arrive home, and not encourage over-excitement by acting in an overly energetic way – not unless you want your dog to jump up and lick your face.
A Step By Step Method
To start with, it’s best to teach your dog the ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands, or at least reinforce them before you begin training them to stop jumping. This will give you a shortcut way to counter the unwanted jumping behavior, simply by giving them the command to sit or stay – just as long as they’re responsive to it.
This also allows you to give them the positive command of ‘sit’, rather than telling them to ‘stop’, ‘down’, or any similar negative commands which can be harder to reward correctly.
Ideally, you want to avoid using negative commands like “off”, too. Instead, you want to enter the room and simply command them to “sit”.
You should reward your dog when they sit on your command, but you should avoid stroking the head if at all possible since this could make them more likely to jump up to greet you, in some cases.
Instead, it’s better to crouch down to your dog’s level and stroke them on the sides or under the chin, which stops your dog from looking up (and again, possibly wanting to jump). Try to keep doing this exercise every day until your dog stops jumping up at you. With patience and consistency, you’ll be surprised at how fast the progress can be.
Dealing With A Dog That Jumps On Visitors
Another aspect of the jumping problem is when your dog jumps on visitors, and you may need to address this issue in a slightly different way.
You should begin by putting your dog on the leash before you open the front door, and give the command for them to ‘sit’.
Alternatively, if your visitor is willing to play along, you can give the visitor some food rewards to bring with them when they next visit. Your dog should then receive a reward from the visitor when they next visit, just as long as your dog sits without jumping up at them.
This will help to positively reinforce the desired behavior, as your dog will soon learn that they only get the reward when they aren’t jumping up on the guest.
Most dogs will simply jump up to lick their owner’s faces, but others will launch themselves through the air towards people. It goes without saying that this can be dangerous for both your dog and the person, so you’ll have to tackle this in a different way.
Firstly, you should avoid all eye contact and just walk straight past your dog without greeting them when you arrive. This may sound like a strange thing to do at first, but it’s a crucial step to reducing the ‘event-like’ status that your arrival has for your dog.
Next, if your dog does jump up or throw themselves at you, then when your dog’s feet are back on the ground, you should command them to sit.
Reward and praise your dog if they obey. If they don’t obey the command, then you need to work on basic obedience training a little more, until they’re highly responsive to the sit command. If your dog continues to jump up, simply ignore the behavior until they’re willing to listen to the sit command.