Jumping up on people is quite common with dogs and can cause severe problems particularity when dealing with large animals. Clothing can be dirtied and ripped and people can be seriously injured or traumatized. Smaller dogs can be equally concerning when young children are around, and can cause just as much harm.
People tend to encourage jumping behaviour by unconsciously rewarding dogs that jump, especially common with puppies and young dogs that come barrelling to greet someone and jump all over them. The person typically bends down and gives the pup attention, which reinforces the action of jumping up.
Most dogs jump simply because they are very excited and have never learned that this behaviour is inappropriate. Other dogs may jump for more concerning reasons such as trying to determine dominance over the people involved. When dealing with a dog that jumps it will be fairly evident which type of motivator is driving him to jump up on people. Unless the owner is very experienced, dogs exhibiting dominate or aggressive traits should be enrolled in obedience school with a professional dog trainer to eliminate future issues.
For the animals that are simply excited, there are ways to show them that jumping is not an acceptable behaviour.
Things to Avoid When Training a Dog Not to Jump
- Greeting the dog with too much enthusiasm. Doing so will stimulate further excitement and make it harder for him to concentrate
- Yelling. Hollering has very little impact on an excited dog and will have even less if he does not know what “Down” means.
- Pushing the dog away when it jumps, this can be interpreted as a playful action by many animals and can spur more jumping.
- Being inconsistent. If jumping is not allowed there cannot be any exceptions. Wavering back and forth will only confuse the dog and make it harder for him to understand what he is being asked to do.
How to Stop Dogs from Jumping Up
When dealing with smaller animals hands can be extended in front of the person about to jumped up on. Holding still and keeping the hands out will show the dog that the body is not accessible as a landing area. For larger dogs it is often easier to raise one knee in front of the chest before they jump to help deter impact.
Once the dog begins to react to being blocked, introduce the command. “Down” is the most common but anything can be used as long as it consistent. As the desired behaviour is shown, say the command to reinforce its meaning.
Another popular method is to ignore the jumping entirely. A complete lack of acknowledgment including negative actions will quickly let the dog know something is wrong. Dogs are very in tune with human reactions and this technique can have dramatic results. When the dog jumps, the owner should completely ignore him and even turn away from the dog, effectively snubbing the behaviour
Once the dog has returned to a standing or sitting position, he should receive lots of praise and affection. . Dogs tend to quickly associate that jumping causes them to be ignored, while not jumping generates attention.
With practice and patience and consistency dogs can successfully be trained not to jump, improving thei ability to interact with people.