Tip 55 – Dog jumping up – jumping on people
A common problem that many owners have with their new dogs is jumping up or jumping on people. This typically happens when you, your family members or anyone the dog thinks is fun comes into your home. The dog gets so excited to greet everyone that it jumps up on them and makes a big ruckus. This might be cute with a little dog but it’s a definite problem with a bigger dog who might well knock you off balance, intimidate guests, or even mistakenly scratch you with its paws. Dogs do this as part of their normal greeting ritual. In the wild, dogs greet each other by touching noses and that’s what the dog is usually trying to do.
Stopping the behaviour
In order to get your dog to stop this behaviour you have to stop rewarding it. What do pet owners usually do when the dog jumps up? Usually they look at the dog and say something like “OK, Rover, OK, down, down, OK, good dog, go away now, enough, OK…” and may even pet the dog during the episode. All this attention is PURE REWARD to the dog, and only encourages the jumping up behaviour. What needs to be done is the withdrawal of all attention. When the dog jumps up, quickly turn away from the dog, fold your arms, make no eye contact and say nothing. Once the dog has settled down THEN give it loads of attention and serious petting. The dog will need to learn this with every family member and everyone should act the same way to be consistent.
Once the dog learns that jumping gets up gets it NOTHING, the behaviour should lessen or stop. Often the combined use of the sit command to refocus the dog’s attention is a great way to speed the whole process. As the dog is calming down, give the sit command and reward the dog for the good sit. This is especially good when you are on walks and the dog encounters a human it wants to greet. Just before it gets excited, give the sit command, then reward the dog with food, petting, toys, etc. Get the human to come down to the dog’s level and greet the dog that way. A dog that is busy sitting can’t jump up if it’s on a leash.