By: Jane Collins, owner of Springfield Family Dog Training

Jumping up is on almost every dog owner’s list of behaviors they would like their dog to stop doing. Why do dogs jump up? Dogs do what works for them. Jumping up often gets them attention and engagement. After all, it is hard to ignore them when they are literally throwing themselves into you!

So, the first thing we need to do is take away any benefit to the dog from uninvited jumping. Our goal is for the dog to keep ‘4 on the floor’ and they must not receive any recognition (petting, praise, etc.) for jumping up. But this is only part of the issue. Sometimes many of the efforts people have been using to try to stop jumping are actually encouraging it. When the dog jumps up and the human pushes them off and scolds them loudly, dogs often see that as engagement or play (just watch how dogs play!) and jump more instead of less. The greeting nitual of jumping becomes an enjoyable and rewarding habit for the dog and they see no good reason to stop.

A big key is predicting when the dog is likely to jump up and being ready before she has a chance to. The solutions below are not necessarily in order of how you should try them – it is more about using what works for the given situation. Sometimes you will be able to predict the jumping and can be ready, other times it will catch you off guard and you will need to do what works in the moment.

The most important thing is consistency, and therefore, you will need to coach all the people who will meet the dog how they should react because ‘rewarded’ jumping will send your progress backwards. If vou are in a situation where you can’t coach the human, or jumping up would likely injure the person, be sure to keep the dog on leash and far enough away that he does not have the chance to jump up.

Finally, since dogs do what works we need to make NOT jumping also rewarding. Once the dog has 4 on the floor again be sure to give praise and petting, keeping it at the right level of intensity so that you are not getting the dog excited enough to start jumping again.

  1. When anyone is greeting the dog, keep the greeting low key, speaking in normal quiet tones, even ignoring the dog initially.
  2. While leaning down to pet her, tuck your thumb inside her collar and keep it firmly in place so that as soon as she starts to jump she will meet resistance. You are not holding her down, the resistance is only felt by the dog if she IS trying to jump. When she tries to jump up she will physically not be able to. When you feel that she is no longer straining to jump continue low key praise/petting. Use this method any time you are petting and praising her for not jumping no matter which of the methods you used initially.
  3. Think ahead to when the dog is likely to jump and be ready with your arm straight down, palm flat and wrist bent so that if he jumps his head will hit your palm. You are not pushing down but holding your arm firmly in place. The dog just experiences the natural consequences of an obstruction as he tries to come up. The hand in this position eventually becomes a reminder or signal not to jump.
  4. Before she has a chance to jump is to tell her to sit. (If you tell her to sit, you must follow through until she does sit.) This is not my ‘go to’ option because I would prefer her to take responsibility forwhat to do instead of jumping rather than waiting to be told what to do, but this can be helpfal in the learning phase and when your hands are full, etc.
  5. Speak his language! Use body language to tell the dog you do not want to be jumped on. Arms crossed in front of your chest and face and body turned away from the dog should tell the dog their jumping is not welcome. When the dog doesnt jump be sure to praise. Do use caution with this method if the dog is large or the human is small/frail so if he doesn’t get the message, he does not harm the human.
  6. Step into the dog. This is done very calmly and matter-of-factly so as not to be seen as engagement by the dog. Once you move into the dog, he will likely come off balance, put 4 on the floor, and then you can praise him.
  7. Once the dog is getting the idea and jumping less often, you can begin to use the verbal cue of “off” just as the dog lands back on the floor. You can also use a clicker or verbal marker (yes) to mark this instance that the dog first puts 4 on the floor. When you then later use this word that the dog has come to understand, you will seek to use it before the dog actually jumps up, while the idea to jump is even still forming in his brain.
  8. You can also help her practice greeting people by having her on leash with someone standing on the leash where it reaches the floor. If she tries to jump up the leash will simply not allow her to do so.
    You can quietly use your word for off or no but otherwise the handler pays little attention to the dog until it is time to give low key praise for not jumping. (Be sure the leash is not tight when she is gill trying to jump, but not so loose that she can get an attempt in and be jerked too harshly.) You can also do this to keep her from jumping on you.Phase II of this technique requires giving the person approaching the dog a little advanced coaching so that while the dog is actively straining against the leash the person stops moving forward, turns away and uses other body language to signal to the dog that jumping is not welcome. When the dog is relaxed again the person moves forward again, stopping when the dog begins to strain against the leash. This process continues until the dog can remain calm during the entire approach. You can then use the same process for the dog to accept low key petting while remaining calm.
  9. You CAN put jumping up on cue, with a word and/or hand signal to clearly tell the dog that jumping up is welcome in this circumstance only. Depending on the dog and how quickly you are having success with NOT jumping, you may need to teach this only after he has a clear understanding of the default behavior of keeping 4 on the floor.

Jane Collins specializes in providing affordable, effective & convenient training for dogs and their people. Sharing your life with a dog can be a most fulfilling experience – and also the most frustrating. Jumping up, barking, ignoring commands, chewing on shoes, leash pulling, & house soiling make perfect sense to a canine, but can also make them difficult housemates!

Jane’s primary goal at Family Dog Training is to teach you how to communicate with your dog so that s/he not only understands what is expected from them in the daily routine, but can also think and problem solve appropriate behavior in out of the ordinary circumstances. She covers the basics like sit, down, leash walking, and come when called, but she also teaches self-control, problem-solving skills, & behaviors important to YOU!

Springfield Family Dog Training
(417) 839-7031


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