Why Dogs Jump
Some reasons dogs jump:
- Greeting people/dogs
- Play initiation
- To explore/get something they want that is high up
First and foremost, jumping is the canine way of saying hello. It’s how your dog shows their joy at seeing you, a visitor to the house, or a friendly-looking stranger on the street. It’s not an attempt to dominate you nor is it done out of spite. Your dog’s jumping behavior is not rude, it just means they don’t know a different way to greet people, and the best cure is to teach them just that.
Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump…
When you arrive home:
Step 1. Crack the door open. If your dog jumps up, close the door.
Step 2. Repeat until you can step through the door without your dog jumping up.
Step 3. If he jumps on you, turn away. If they keep jumping, go back outside and start again.
Step 4. Whenever your dog keeps four paws on the floor, praise and pet them.
Alternatively, you can prevent the problem in the first place. Use a baby gate to keep your dog away from the entry door, perhaps by limiting them to certain rooms while you are away. Then you can wait until your dog sits to greet him.
Around the house:
Step 1. If your dog jumps on you to get attention or to play, turn your back to them.
Step 2. When your dog stops jumping, turn around and praise them. Repeat if necessary.
Step 3. If your dog keeps jumping up when you turn your back, walk away from them. If they follow and jump again, put them in another room for a minute or two.
By following this approach, you train your dog to sit for attention. Be sure to reinforce this behavior by giving your dog some attention (praise, a cuddle, etc.) when they choose to sit nicely rather than overly excitedly demanding attention.
On visitors to the house:
Step 1. Put your dog in a head halter and on leash before answering the door for the visitor. Open the door. If your dog wants to jump on the visitor, control them with the leash and tell him “too bad” in a cheerful voice and walk him away. Once he calms down, let him try again.
Step 2. Leave the leash on your dog during the visit. You can drop the leash and let it drag, but if your dog jumps up on your visitor, pick up the leash and walk your dog away. Put them in another room for a minute or two. Then let them try again. Tell your guest to only give your dog attention when they sit.
On people on the street:
Step 1. Always walk your dog on a head halter. When approaching someone on the sidewalk, keep an eye on your dog. If they start to jump up, control them with the leash, tell them “too bad” in a cheerful voice, turn, and walk briskly away. When your dog calms down, try again.
Step 2. When your dog has learned to keep all four paws on the ground during greetings, ask them for a sit before they say hello. If you practice this consistently (and have taught them Sit), your dog will learn to sit whenever they want to greet a new person.
- Be consistent. Teach your friends and family to practice these steps with your dog, too. Otherwise you unintentionally teach your dog that it’s okay to jump on people sometimes.
- Don’t push away your dog or scold them for jumping on you. That’s more than enough attention to keep them jumping.
- Never bring your knee up as protection against your dog’s over-happy greetings, or step on their toes when they jumps, or grab and pinch their feet. You can cause real damage to your dog and they won’t understand what you want them to do.