The first and most important rule when training a dog not to jump up is consistency. No dog can tell the difference between your old jeans and your new suite. Nor can they tell whether you’re in the mood to be jumped on or not.
Why do dogs jump up on people?
Most puppies jump up because they want to be closer to our face. That’s how they greet, just like their wolf ancestors in the wild. Since we’re not at their eye level they tend to try to jump. They’re not trying to get you all dirty or knock you over; they’re simply trying to say ‘hello’. You might think it’s cute when they’re puppies, but you won’t when they’re full grown. Nor is it perceived as friendly. It’s actually rude and can become very pushy. As they grow, it can escalate into dominance and eventually aggression, so you need to stop it NOW!
First thing in order to stop your dog from jumping up on you, discourage it in the first place. You need to teach your dog that jumping up is not the way people say ‘hi’. When your dog tries to jump up on you, step away so they don’t make physical contact. Quickly turn your back while you firmly say “off” (don’t confuse ‘off’ with ‘down’. DOWN means lie down). Don’t give your dog any attention, good or bad. And for goodness sake do not bend down to face them, that will only encourage them to jump more. Stand straight and tall. Once your dog stops trying to jump up, tell them to sit. Then crouch down beside them and praise them saying ‘good off’. Now you’ve both won. You both get what you want and everybody is happy.
Everybody your dog comes into contact with should practice this consistency rule. Dogs don’t differentiate. It’s not OK to jump up on your friend Barb but not your Uncle Frank.
When you come home, stay calm to discourage jumping
If you make a big deal about arriving home your dog will become overly excited. The behavior will be even harder to stop. Not to mention you will be unnecessarily creating possible separation anxiety issues in your dog. And that’s a whole other huge problem! So try to keep it low key when you come and go. Certainly you can be happy to see your dog and vice versa. Just stay calm so you don’t work them up into a hyper state. When you come home, stay relaxed when you greet them. Give them a few minutes to calm down before you say hi. Don’t forget how in tune our dogs are to us, your mood will rub off on your dog very quickly.
Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition
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