When dealing with any unwanted dog behaviour or action, I always like to first understand WHY the behaviour is being performed and what the dog is trying to accomplish from doing so. Once you understand why your puppy is jumping, teaching them not to jump is relatively simple with a consistent training plan.
So why does my puppy jump on people?
In my experience I have found the most common reason why dogs jump, is due to the behaviour being inadvertently reinforced which is especially true with puppies, the second reason which also relates to the first is due to owners not giving a consistent message to their dogs and puppies on jumping. Below is a list of reasons why dogs jump-
- Strangers encouraging the behaviour- some people don’t mind puppies jumping on them. A common scene is people you meet out on a walk come to say hello to your puppy they kneel down, talk in a high pitch voice and then start clapping on their knees to encourage the puppy to jump whilst patting them. Unfortunately every time this happens your puppy is heavily rewarded for jumping and they begin to think it’s acceptable to jump on any stranger which is no fault of their own. To prevent this from happening, I am very stern in telling people to not interact like that with my puppy and if they want to give my puppy it must be calm fashion and whilst the puppy is sitting.
- How we react to our dog jumping- usually the first reaction when their dog jumps is to push them away, make a lot of noise and jump around. All of which is pretty exciting to the dog and they generally view as a game, dogs have an opposition reflex so by pushing them away generally makes them come back harder. If your unsure what to do at the time, your best option is generally to stay came and try to limit your hand movements.
- Allowing puppies to jump and crawl all over them- Many people when they have a puppy allow it to practice behaviour that won’t be acceptable when they are older. It’s important to send a clear message from day one, always have the end goal in mind of how you want your dog to behave when they are older and no longer cute little fluff balls. If you don’t want your 40kg German Shepherd jumping all over you when you sit down, then don’t allow it to perform the behaviour when its puppy.
So how to stop my puppy from jumping?
Well to put it simply, train your dog! The more obedient your dog is and the more time you spend on teaching them acceptable behaviour, the less likely they are to jump and perform unwanted behaviour. I have listed below many ways and training exercise’s you can use to stop your dog from jumping.
- It is essential that you set some very clear rules, that jumping is no longer acceptable under any circumstances and that you don’t reinforce the behaviour at all.
- Advice people to not act overly excited when they greet you dog and under no circumstances are they to touch or pat your dog unless they are sitting and have all four paws on the ground. This is an essential part, because if 9 people ignore your dogs jumping, yet 1 person gives them a pat whilst doing so the behaviour has been reinforced and becomes harder to stop.
- Train a very reliable sit which is proofed in many different locations and around many distractions. If your dog can reliably sit and know they can’t move out of a sit position until released, that eliminates the option of jumping.
- During the training stages keep your dog on a leash and collar so you can better control the situation, by keeping a leash on your dog you can block them from performing the behaviour, the less they have success jumping the less they will try repeating the behaviour.
- If your dog gets overly excited when visitors come over, train them to lie down calmly on their and keep them on a leash if needed. Once your dog calms down, you can release them off their bed to get say hello, use the lead to block their jumping and if they get to excited send them back to their bed.
As always if you require professional dog training assistance please contact us