How Do You Keep Dogs From Jumping Up On People?

22 10 2008

Most of the crazy things that we (dogs) do are to see how much attention we can get from you (humans).  This is especially true about jumping upon people, especially new ones.  What happens is when a human enters the room, it is naturally a dog’s obligation to greet that human.  The best way for us to greet you is to jump up on you over and over.

Most of the time, the human yells, “STOP!” while pushing the dog away.  To us, this is attention, and it does not matter to us if you are cursing profusely at us. Remember, we do not understand a word you are saying anyway!

The best way to address the jumping issue is to TEACH YOUR DOG TO SIT.  In the interim, when a dog jumps, the proper command word to use is OFF.  While you are saying this word, the only way to effectively keep the dog from jumping is to turn your back and walk away from the dog.  It is very important  not to talk to him, simply ignore him.  This will eliminate the attention that your dog was getting from the yelling and pushing.

While you are training to stop the jumping, your dog needs to pull his leash around the house with him. Remember that you are training and you are supposed to be keeping an eye on the dog at all times.  If you cannot watch him, he does not need to be freely roaming.  And if you are watching him, he will not get his leash caught on anything, and he will not get into trouble.

Once your dog knows the word SIT and what to do when he hears the word, command him to SIT as he approaches you.  When he complies, praise him very well.  Positive reinforcement is the only way a dog will learn to do the things you want him to do.  If he does not SIT, immediately step on the leash and begin walking closer and closer to the dog until he cannot do anything but SIT.  Once he is SITTING, praise the SIT. With these actions, you have ignored the bad behavior (jumping) and praised the good behavior (sitting). Since we are positively reinforcing the good behavior with attention, with continued practice, the good behavior will increase.

He will figure out that humans will only acknowledge him if his butt is on the ground, then he will SIT.  And if this is practiced, he will learn to SIT every time he approaches a human, or a human approaches him.  If he is jumping on your back, keep in mind that you can’t train what you can’t control.

If you are encountering the jumping while seated, the training is the same, using the same command word OFF.  While seated, step on the leash restricting the dog so he cannot jump up.

Some people in the dog community will tell you that it is OK to let your dog jump, especially if he is a small dog.  You must remember that jumping is not an acceptable behavior.  It is rude, and gives dogs a bad name, especially those of us that know better.

In my younger days, my mom let a little dog live in our house.  One day, a friend of Mom’s came to visit, and the friend encouraged the little dog to jump.  Mom told her not to, but she continued while explaining that mom was “too hard on the cute little thing.”  She also said that she did not mind the dog jumping.  So mom reiterated that dogs are not supposed to jump. To prove her point, Mom called me to greet her friend.  When she saw me coming, she said, “What is HE going to do?”  Mom said, “HE is going to jump on you because I am going to tell him to!”  At that time, I weighed about 95 pounds.  Since dogs do not see or understand size, when I saw that the little dog could jump, then then it must be ok for me to jump too!

If you are concerned about your dog jumping on a child, the training is going to be similar, except that the child will be introduced.  Put a leash on the dog and practice having the dog approach the child slowly.  If the dog becomes too excited and begins jumping, simply turn and walk away bringing the dog with you.  Of course, it is important to control the child as well.  Do not allow the kid to touch the dog, push at the dog, kick at the dog or yell at the dog.  All of this is attention and will result in the dog becoming excited and lunging at the kid.  Remain calm and try again.

As a dog, I would like to inform every human adult that we are not babysitters!  It is not our job to make sure that Junior stays in front of the TV.

Continue your regular training sessions of teaching SIT.  As the dog matures which will occur more rapidly than the kid, he will learn that HUMAN=BUTT ON THE GROUND.  No exceptions.