How to Stop a Dog from Jumping

A jumping dog is seeking attention. In order not to reward the behavior, the best response is to ignore it. You’ve met a kid who acts up even though his parents yell at him, because he sees even the negative attention as a reward, right? Same thing with jumping dogs.

Responding to Jumping Dogs

The best response to a jump is to turn your back and stand still and silent until she sits with all four feet planted on the ground. Then praise her. If she jumps again in response to the praise, ignore again.

However, prevention is also necessary. You can’t train a void. In other words, dogs don’t understand “don’t jump,” unless you add on a “DO sit calmly for petting.” The unwanted behavior has to be replaced by a wanted behavior, or you’ll have a confused pup who reverts to jumping when excited.

Training an Incompatible Behavior

First, train a very strong sit and stay. Practice inside, in different rooms of the house, and outside until you can get her to sit immediately on command and stay sitting for at least 5 minutes when given a “wait” or “stay” command. Once you’ve got that down, have a friend or family member drop by and offer assistance.

As they prepare to enter the house, cue her to sit and give a constant stream of rewards as long as she remains sitting. If she sits, your guest can come over and pet her and give soft praise, being careful not to excite her. If she wiggles and jumps, both you and the guest should turn your backs to her and wait silently for her to go back to sitting.

Repeat this exercise several times with different people and in different situations. Practice heading off strangers reaching to pet her when she’s jumping with a quick, “She’s in training! Please don’t pet her unless she is sitting.” Once she learns that nobody, but nobody, will give her any attention unless four paws are on the ground, and that she will get food and praise rewards for sitting to greet people, the jumping will go away.

Avoid Un-Trainers

As a final note, beware of people at the dog park or on walks who respond to your request not to pet her while she’s jumping with, “Oh, I don’t mind!” These are un-trainers and can sabotage your efforts.

If someone is trying to un-train your dog by rewarding her for jumping even after you’ve asked them to ignore her until she sits, smile and say, “We need to go now,” and take her away immediately. Offer a small food reward as you walk away so that she doesn’t feel completely cheated of the attention she was receiving.

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2 Responses

  1. Lisa
    | Reply

    Great post! The tips are helpful.

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