Every day, exasperated dog owners call or email us with their hands in their air exclaiming “My dog won’t stop jumping!”. We’re quick to reassure them that this is a very common problem, and one that we work on with your dog from Day 1 of any training program. It’s definitely a very difficult habit to break because your pup just loves you so much, and wants to greet you! However, it’s important to remember that Love is a delivery service, you bring it to your dog, he doesn’t come get it!
While not every case is the same, we have a few tips that we offer to all of our clients.
Set Rules For Everyone
Just like every other skill that your dog has learned, consistency is the key to maintaining a behavior. If your dog is not allowed to jump up on you, he shouldn’t be allowed to jump on anyone. Even if your friends and neighbors insist “it’s ok!”, the rules are going to be much more difficult to establish if they don’t apply to everyone all of the time. Be sure that everyone your dog comes into contact with understands the rules, and that you apply them consistently every time.
Interact On Your Terms
Don’t allow your dog to earn your attention by jumping on you. Your reaction to paws leaving the ground should be to immediately shut off all attention to your dog. You’re a mannequin until we have “4 on the floor”. Without that reward of attention, you remove the motivation for jumping. Even something as simple as pushing the dog away while he’s in the air can be interpreted as a fun game for your pup.
When your pup is on the ground, he earns all of the love and attention that he’s looking for. Don’t just focus on how to react when your dog is misbehaving, make sure that you praise him when he’s doing what you’re looking for. However, if he then chooses to jump while you’re loving him, you go right back to mannequin mode.
If you’d like to occasionally allow your pup to jump up on you to get some love, that’s totally fine! Just make sure that you use a command like “Up” to invite him to jump, and “Off” when it’s time for him to go back to the floor.
Use the “Off” Command
Practice makes perfect! You should make sure that you practice positive interactions every day. Work with your pup on a leash with a friend or family member. One of you greets the dog, and the other holds the leash. If he chooses to jump on the greeter without invitation, the greeter goes into mannequin mode and the leash holder delivers an appropriate leash correction timed with the word “No” and then an issuing of the “Off” command. When 4 paws return to the ground, the greeter turns the attention back on right away. It won’t take long until your pup understands that staying on the ground keeps the greeter interested, “so I’ll just keep my butt on the ground!”.
Exercise and Socialize Your Dog
A tired dog is a calm dog, and a calm dog is far less likely to be desperate for attention. Burning energy is a good start towards fixing the vast majority of behavioral issues, and jumping is no different. Burn that energy to set your dog up for success.
Along the same lines, exposing your pup to the world is going to reduce the novelty of that guest entering your home. If your dog is exposed to the fascinating world, and gets the opportunity to meet people, greet dogs, and experience the chaos, that person you meet or invite into your home is far less interesting.
Use “The Button”
We often like to suggest “The Button”. Imagine that you have a button on your chest that says “Time Out, Please”. Each time that your dog jumps on you, he’s pushing that button, which you interpret as him asking “May I please go to my crate?”. As soon as he hits the button, you respond in a very positive fashion “Ok, good job, let’s go” and take him quickly to his crate or his place. Make sure not to make this a punishment, because we don’t want to build a negative association with the crate or the place. He goes to his crate or his place for only a minute or two, and then he’s released and we try again. After a few repetitions, many dogs begin to understand the cause an effect, but the timing of everything is key. The moment the he pushed the button, you tell him “Ok” and start moving towards his crate or place.
Consistency is absolutely key. Whatever route that you choose, be sure to remain 100% consistent. Many clients accidentally use “down” instead of “off”, which can cause confusion about two commands! Remain calm and consistent, and you’ll have all of the success that you want. Don’t forget, it’s a compliment that he’s jumping, we just need to redirect that positive energy!
All of our training programs start working on jumping from Day 1. Call or email us anytime to start!