Get Down! How to Teach your Dog to Stop Jumping Up
Although it might sometimes feel nice to be greeted by your dog jumping up when you come in through the door, it can also become a nuisance if you have a big dog or they are jumping up at visitors or strangers when you are out and about! Sometimes a dog will jump up just to get our attention and we can unintentionally encourage this behaviour by reacting to them or responding to them when we walk into a room.
Dogs generally learn to jump up when they are young. If your dog is very small it can be quite cute to see them jumping up at your legs but once they are fully grown and perhaps knocking things out of your hand or knocking over your granny when she comes to visit, then it suddenly becomes a bit of a problem. Although they’re simply saying hello, not everyone will appreciate a paw on their shoulder or a tongue in their mouth. Some might even find it intimidating.
The key things to note when training your dog to stop jumping up are consistency, timing and perseverance.
When you first start training you may find initially that your dog jumps up more to begin with. This is because they may think that they need to work harder to get your attention after previously being rewarded for jumping up (whether you were doing this intentionally or not). The main thing to remember is that this behaviour is normal, so keep calm and carry on and you will get there with a little patience and perseverance. The main thing is to teach you dog that jumping up is definitely not the best way to get your attention.
Step 1 - Ignore your Dog
By giving your dog attention when they jump up, you are rewarding them. So the first step is to ignore them (i.e. not reward their behaviour) when they jump. Turn your back and snub them completely. Don’t speak to them and don’t make any eye contact. Wait until all 4 of their paws are on the ground and as soon as this happens, turn around and reward them with positive attention.
If they become over-excited at the attention, try using food as a reward instead. You may also find it beneficial to use a clicker so that you can reward them at the precise moment their paws are all on the ground, then feed them. This way you are showing them what it is they are getting right at the exact moment that it happens. If you do decide to use food, place it on the ground or scatter a few treats on the floor near your dog, so that their attention is focused downwards at the floor rather than up at you, which may otherwise tempt them to jump up again.
You have to be consistent and turn away every time your dog jumps up -whether you are coming in through the door or playing outside. By repeating the process over and over your dog should eventually learn that the best way to get your attention is with all of their feet on the floor.
Step 2 – Get Everyone Involved
Of course if you’re training your dog to stop jumping up at everyone, you’re going to need to get your friends and family on board too and make sure that they are consistent. Where possible, ask everyone that interacts with your dog to turn their back and discourage the dog as well.
Step 3 – Alternative Method: Ask them to Sit Instead
If you’ve practiced steps 1 and 2, but your dog is still jumping up, they may be getting frustrated and you might have to change the way you approach things.
Instead of turning your back, ask your dog to do something more constructive and get them to perform something that they already know. For example ask them to ‘sit’ when you come through the door and reward them with a treat. If they jump up at someone else, ask them to sit then as well and reward them with treats or attention. Keep practising and eventually your dog will learn to make the association that sitting gets them a treat or some attention and jumping up does not.
If you’d like some extra help with your training to stop your dog from jumping up, Battersea Dogs Home have put together this excellent video taking you through the steps you need to practice:
Does your dog jump up? Have you got any extra tips to make them get down? Let us know in the comments section below
Main (Leaping Dachshund) Photo by Chris Johnstone on Unsplash