How To Stop a Dog From Jumping
Try not to reward inappropriate behavior by paying attention to it (inadvertently reinforcing it). If your puppy jumps up for attention use a gentle body block gesture (block him from jumping on your body) by folding your arms in front of you and abruptly turning away from your dog as though you are highly insulted, he should slightly go off balance at this point and land back with all 4 feet on the floor. Do not pay attention to your pup until he has all 4 feet on the ground or sitting politely – then you praise him but keep praise very low key. This takes a lot of repetition for the puppy to figure out, and tons of patience from you. Jumping, pawing, licking, are all friendlyappeasement behaviors – the canines way of communicating as he did in the litter with Mom and his littermates; “welcome home, please don’t hurt me, I’m just a low ranking worm compared to you, I’m hungry, I want attention – let’s play”.
Do not reach down with your arms or upper body to push your dog off of you. Do not pay attention to an excited dog upon arriving home, this only proves to further encourage uncontrollable behavior at the door. You may not mind a wild and obnoxious greeting when you come in the front door, but your guests will, and your pup does not know the difference, if you allow it he will think others will too. Your pup does not know the difference betweenyour reaching down with your arms to pet/praise him, or your reaching down to push him off when he jumps. The more you practice this ritual (of not rewarding jumping up in any way) the better your pup will become at politely greeting you and friends, especially at the door. Take a ‘pro-active’ approach from the first day your pup comes home to live with you – they are learning (every second) from watching you and their environment from such a young age, well before they ever arrived in your home – get involved NOW and teach your little guy pleasant behaviors.
You can keep a stuffed Kong toy in your car or something special that takes a long time to chew that you know he LOVES and offer it when he SITS for you upon arrival. Set up practice training sessions at the door. Door Training: Take turns with friends or family and ring the doorbell, open the door, if the dog can not control himself then leave and close the door, wait a few seconds and try again, if the puppy sits or just stands but does not jump, reward calmly, and offer that great treat/chew toy you have handy and go about your way, but not leaving your puppy unsupervised of course – Offering him a chewy that he loves will often times keep him busy such that he forgets about jumping, and also offers YOU the opportunity to train lots of SITS >>> Practice, practice, practice – it will sink into his powerful brain.
Overtime your pup will anticipate this scenario and start to offer ‘calm’ behavior on his own; typically SITS – until then anticipate a ‘jumping dog’ and be prepared to have him sit BEFORE he has a chance to jump, or ignore him and walk away if he jumps up because you missed the chance to request a SIT – Pay attention to your puppy at all times, when he naps you can take a break to get other things done and then prepare for his awakening once again – then the process of training starts all over and becomes a cycle you must repeat, and your puppy will continue to learn good healthy habits to be proud of once he grows up into that delightful adult dog you envision.
Note: Remember to always use your hand signal for sit, you may use the verbal as well but only if you know he is already committed to sitting with the hand signal offered first.
Unpleasant behaviors do not just appear – for the most part they are learned and have been rewarded. Look for the RED flags that warn you of potential problems to come. Problems not dealt with as you first notice them do not always go away – they snowball into bigger problems thus you will be dealing with what has now become a habit – not an easy task once the dog is older and bigger and now has a history of ‘rehearsing’ this behavior over and over for so long thus getting better at performing it. Dogs learn that life is either positive or negative, good or bad, certain behaviors work (produce pleasurable results for the dog) and other behaviors don’t.
You must decide very early on how you want your pup to behave; will jumping up be allowed, once this decision is made you should set the precedence now while he is young as to how he should behave as an ADULT dog and train him accordingly. Imagine your dog bigger, stronger and in full adult size. A little puppy that jumps up is cute for some folks, but a 50-pound adult dog is not. Remember, puppies come to you knowing jumping produces good results, it’s your job to replace the jumping with lots of SITS – sitting will replace jumping and your pup will learn that SITTING is more pleasurable than jumping – jumping loses your attention – SITTING ‘gets’ your attention, THAT’Swhat he wants.
Small breeds that jump up may not be a problem (for some pet owners) due to their impending small adult size but they still get muddy feet, dirty up clothes, bedding and furniture – decide now while he is still a puppy if ‘jumping up’ may present issues for you down the road and address it pronto. Remember, it’s a lot easier NOW to prevent behavioral problems rather than try to fix them later on – habits are hard to change once they have become ingrained. Observe your canine’s behavior and view any ‘red flags’ as potential problems that may manifest into bigger problems. Some behaviors do not always go away with age – Puppies do not typically ‘outgrow’ all inappropriate behaviors – don’t let this old adage fool you.