Feb 09

Why Does My Dog Jump And How Do I Stop It?

How many of you have problems with your dog jumping on people when they greet them?  This is a question I ask in all my training classes.  The response is almost always 100%.  Why do dogs jump up to greet people?  We’ll discuss the reasons as well as some ways to prevent jumping.

Dogs jump on people for several reasons.  They jump to sniff a persons face just as they do with other dog’s muzzles.  They jump because they are looking for attention or because they are wanting the person to play with them.  Just as with other undesirable behaviors, jumping can be prevented by teaching an alternative behavior.

Before discussing ways to prevent or stop jumping, let’s talk about what not to do.  I have seen many trainers stop a jumping dog by lifting their knee against the dog’s chest.  I have seen others grab and hold the dog’s paws.  While these methods don’t cause a great deal of pain, they are still considered adversive and the dog is learning not to jump because something unpleasant happens when he does.  There are other positive way to prevent your dog from jumping.

As mentioned above, jumping is most likely an attention seeking behavior.  The best way to prevent it with puppies is to not allow it at all.  Most people think it is cute when puppies jump until they grow up to be 40 or more pounds or come in with mud all over their feet.  The method I use works with pups and  older dogs that have been allowed to jump from the beginning.

Since attention is the motivating factor, it’s best not to give them any attention at all when they jump.   When a dog jumps on you, step back, step forward, move to the side or adjust your body in a way that he can’t put his feet on you.  Don’t say anything and don’t touch him until all four feet are on the floor.  Once all four feet are on the floor, praise and pet him.  If his front feet leave the ground, stop the attention and move again.  Teaching an alternative behavior is the best way to stop your dog from jumping.

To prevent your dog from jumping on other people, put him in a sit position.  I would use a leash during this training session to prevent him from leaving your side.  Have your guest approach him.  If he breaks out of the sit position, they should stop and move away.  Only allow them to give him attention if he continues to sit.

You will be surprised at how quickly your dog will learn that he won’t get any attention unless all four are on the floor.  If you are still having difficulty preventing your dog from jumping, consult your trainer about other positive reinforcement training methods.

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