A dog that jumps up on people is not only embarrassing for his owner but he’s dangerous, too! An overly excited dog can accidentally nip, scratch or knock people over – especially children and seniors.
Most dogs jump up at people because they want to greet them at face level to say “hello.” It is a natural, instinctive behavior. Observe a bitch of any canine species with a litter and you’ll notice the pups greet their mother by jumping up and licking her muzzle. In the wild, this would result in the mother regurgitating food for the litter.
Many dog owners reinforce this behavior by slapping their thighs and encouraging their puppy to rush forward and jump up. This may be okay while the puppy is small but can be dangerous once puppy grows up.
In order to have control over the jumping behavior you need to teach a good solid “sit” command. It comes down to one point, if your dog is sitting, he can’t be jumping.
When the doorbell rings and your dog rushes to the door barking and out of control tell him “Enough!” to let his know it’s time to be quiet. Then, ask him to “Sit! Stay!” Keep a collar and a short leash on the dog so you can easily grab him if he breaks the sit.
To re-enforce the sit, tell your friends that you are training your dog. Ask them not to acknowledge the dog until given permission to do so. Keep a supply of dog treats near the door so the guest can offer a treat if the dog is sitting nicely.
If the dog jumps up, use the command “off” which means to place all four paws on the floor. “Off” is better than “No” because it is instructive, it tells the dog what to do rather than simply telling him that you are displeased.
Never use the command “down.” Down means, “lie down,” not get down.
You can also use the “off” command to tell your dog to get “off” the bed or the sofa. (After all, if he is sleeping on the sofa, he already is “down,” isn’t he?)
Different people swear by different methods of correcting a dog that is jumping up. Recognize that there are pros and cons to each method. What method you use will depend on the age, size and breed of your dog, and your own level of training. Talk to a qualified dog trainer for advice on dealing with your specific breed of dog.
If you can’t gain control with the “sit” command, cross your arms, look up, and turn your back to the jumping dog. Once the dog settles down make eye contact, ask for a “sit,” and then praise. If the jumping up starts up again, immediately ignore the dog and start the sequence again.
PROS: This is a gentle, no-nonsense method.
CONS: An un-neutered male dog, with testosterone hormones raging, may interpret your turning away as an invitation to not only jump up, but to lock his forelegs around your waist and do the “Hokey Pokey.” That’s embarrassing!
When a dog jumps up on you, raise your knee and knock the jumping dog in the chest. Tell him “Off!” Sit!” They key here is to bump the dog off you, not send him flying across the room.
PROS: Makes jumping up on you uncomfortable and unpleasant.
CONS: This method is not advised with deep-chested breeds because you can cause physical injury to the dog. Use common sense!
When the dog jumps up on you grasp his paws and hold them tightly. The trick here is to hold onto his paws until the upright posture becomes uncomfortable. After a few seconds the dog will want to get off you! Release his paws and tell him to sit.
PROS: Generally easy to do and quickly effective for most dogs.
CONS: With very small dogs it is next to impossible to grab their little legs. With large dogs, it puts you in a dangerous face-to-face position where the dog can become aggressive and bite your face or hands. If used to excess, it may also make some dogs sensitive to having their paws handled. Again, use common sense.
Remember that consistency and clear expectations are important to train your dog not to jump on people. You are working against instinct and a natural occurring behavior. Be patient BUT persistent in your efforts to control this potentially dangerous behavior.
Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin (Biography & Additional Information)