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How to get your Dog to Quit Jumping!!

How to get your Dog to Quit Jumping

Today, I have a reader question.

Lynn Blaney wrote to us about her dog jumping.

She writes:

Hi all! Do you have any suggestions for a 70-pound dog who is extremely friendly and will not stop jumping on everyone we meet on our walks?Thanks,Lynn

Common Dog Jumping Problems

Well, Lynn, jumping is a common problem.  And it can be anywhere from cute to difficult to dangerous.

Is your large jumping dog dangerous?

Is your large jumping dog dangerous?

A small dog jumping at your feet seems really cute.

A large dog jumping up to lick your face and say hello when you come home is just adorable.

These can also be difficult and dangerous situations. If you’re carrying things, a jumping dog can knock things out of your hands.  This can lead to broken things and just one heck of a mess to clean up.

Sometimes the problem is just downright dangerous, though.

A dog who jumps near stairs can knock you down them.

A friend once had a broken leg because her dog tripped her as she came home from work. She had a gorgeous border collie. Normally, he was a sedate dog.  But when she would come home from work, this dog became a jumping freak.

Does your jumping dog scare visitors?

Does your jumping dog scare visitors?

Jumping dogs can also be scary for visitors who are not used to dogs. And dogs that are good at jumping can come across as aggressive.

And a large dog who jump can make even dog lovers nervous — especially if they’re not used to larger dogs.

And if you’re small, like me, a larger dog jumping on me when I visit a friend’s house will just knock me off my feet.

So it’s easy to see why jumping is a problem for so many people.

2 wild dogs playing in snowy field

Understanding why dogs jump

To stop your dog from jumping, the first thing you need to do is understand why they jump.

They jump for several reasons.

First of all, being excited.

It makes perfect sense that when you’re excited, you kinda jump up and down. So an excited dog also jumps.

Another reason a dog may jump is to say hello.

When you say hello, you look in someone’s face. We’re generally taller than our dogs. So they jump up to look into our faces when they say hello

Dogs also do this in the wild. Jumping and licking is a sign of submission in the wild. So, when your dog jumps out at you and licks your face, he is telling you that you are in charge.

That’s all great, but he just knocked the groceries out of your hands you’re a little less happy about it.

A third reason that dogs may jump is that they are nervous and uneasy.

Jumping often controls a visitor. How often does the visitor get nervous when a dog jumps on them? They work to interact with the dog or push the dog down. This gives the dog’s attention, and also control because the visitor’s attention is on them.

How to cope with dog jumping situations

How to cope with dog jumping situations

Now that we know why dogs jump we need to cope with the three situations when they jump.

The first reason is to say hello to their guardians when they come home.  They also jump to greet visitors.

And many dogs jump to say hello to each other and random people when they are out on a walk.

The first situation is when you come home, and your dog jumps on you.

This can seem cute, and I know I love it. But if you let them jump on you when you come home, they are not going understand when they’re not allowed to jump on your visitors or the UPS guy.

Many trainers suggest that you don’t let your dogs jump up on you at all. So, first, we will talk about how to get your dog to stop jumping on you.

I don’t believe in aversion tactics, I don’t believe in pinch collars or choke collars or zappers. Smacking, shoving, and yelling is out, too.  These things do not work and often lead to aggressive behavior instead.

What I have for you today is the easiest way to keep your dog from jumping on you.

Dog with front paws on window sill

Ignoring your dog when they jump

Ignore them.

Yes, it’s that easy. All you do is when your dog jumps cross your arms across your chest, and turn your back. If they come around the front of you, just turn your back to them again.

Keep doing this. Do not look at them. Do not talk to them. Do not interact with them at all. Eventually, your dog will realize that they cannot get your attention this way, and will sit down in puzzlement.

Once all four of their paws stay on the ground for three seconds, reward them with your attention. You can even reward with treats at that point, but your attention is usually enough.

In the beginning of training, your dog will almost always immediately jump up again at this time.  Just stand up and repeat the ignoring behavior. Your dog will get puzzled again, and sit again —  and then you can greet them again.

I’ll warn you – The behavior will get worse before it gets better.

Your dog will just try harder to get your attention. So what started out as simple jumping may turn into a frenzy of jumping.

Just ignore it. Stay consistent, and over time, your dog will get the idea that they get more attention by sitting nicely than they do by jumping on you.

The next problem is when you have visitors.

Happy family with their dog in the park on a sunny day

How to handle dog jumping when you have visitors

Sometimes it can be harder to train dogs to not jump on visitors because this is when they are excited and sometimes uneasy. The best thing to do is to warn visitors that they must do the ignoring behavior. If it is an unexpected guest or a visitor who just isn’t coping with the training well, there is another method you can try.

Start off by putting your dog in another room or behind the gate whenever you get a visitor. 

Leave the dog get there until they become calm, no matter how long it takes.

Once the dog is calm, you can put the dog on a leash and then bring the dog to greet the visitor. Teach your dog to sit in front of the visitor and let your guest pet them while they’re sitting.

If your dog jumps, return them to the timeout spot.

Eventually, your dog will realize that it is far more exciting to be able to sit at the visitor’s feet and get attention than to sit behind the gate or door all by themselves.

And once you can have your dog successfully sit and greet on the leash, you can practice off the leash. Over time, your dog will stop jumping on guests and you will not have to use either the timeout or leash when people arrive.

How to handle dog jumping on walks

How to handle dog jumping on walks

The third time that jumping can be a problem is when you are out on your walk.

Your dog sees another dog. They see another human. They get very excited. All they can think about is getting to greet and getting to jump on that person or other dog. If you have a larger dog, this is especially problematic because they may start to pull on the leash.

The training for this is a combination of pieces of training we talked about before.

It is a combination of the sit training above and the leash calling training that we discussed a couple of weeks ago.

If your dog starts pulling their leash to greet somebody, immediately turn and go in the other direction. This is called the reverse method, and it is a common method of leash training.

Some dogs will not pull but will jump as soon as the person is in range.

This is when you use the trained sit to greet the way I discussed above with visitors.

If they jump and won’t sit, you take your dog and start walking away from the other dog or person. Your dog will learn that it gets rewarded with attention and being allowed to greet out on walks if it stays calm and doesn’t jump on the other person or dog.

dachshund-jumping-up on someones leg

Like all training, your dog will not do this instantly. 

The best thing to do is be patient.

I also recommend that you play with your dog and wear them out a bit before going on walks.  This makes them less likely to jump or pull on the leash.

If you know guests are coming, you may also want to play fetch or something similar with your dog to tire him or her out a little before your guests arrive.

A tired dog won’t have as much energy to jump and will calm down much more quickly.

This will make this a training easier as well.

I’ve seen over and over with many trainers and their programs.  They all say that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. If you give them the attention and exercise they need, they will be less prone to these behaviors like jumping and pulling.

3 little dogs greeting a young girl with happy jumps

So now you know how to teach your dog not to jump on you, or to jump on guests, or on the random people you meet out on a walk.

Let me know how your dog responds to this training. I love to publish stories.

To read another training post, try Patch Puppy’s Tips for Successful Training.

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

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Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Thank you, Jeanne!!