Jumping on people is a common complaint from dog owners. Unfortunately, they have been rewarded many times usually as a puppy for jumping up. It’s always cute when they are 8lbs of fur, but not as cute when they are much larger.
Good news, there are many solutions to the problem; though it will take some persistence on your part to extinguish this behavior.
It’s important to keep in mind that dogs jump up because they want to greet people. They jump to get our attention and/or to reach our face, this is actually doggy etiquette to lick the mouth of other dogs. The knee in chest is usually an invitation for a dog to jump more, they think “great, he’s joining in the jumping party”. The same thing for yelling “off” or “no”, this verbal attention from you just gets your dog more excited and they are thrilled that you are joining in the “excitement party”.
Here are some steps you can take to put a stop to jumping on people. Your solution will probably be a combination of these steps, the most important is to be consistent. You cannot have your dog jump all over you in certain situations then not allow it other times. This is confusing to your dog and you will never extinguish the jumping up.
- Be Calm – Energy goes up when we come home and we are excited to see our dogs. Same thing happens at the front door when visitors come, voices go up, excited energy is in the air. Then we try pushing the dog down and yelling “NO” or “OFF”. Doing this actually increases the intensity of the situation and makes it worse. Make your body still and quiet when you greet your dog. Practice using no words or sounds, calm and quiet. Feeding into an already excited dog just exacerbates the problem. Wait until your dog is calm, then reach down and greet them, when they are keeping four paws on the floor.
- Ignore it – Ignoring your dog’s behavior can work, but you must be consistent. First, turn your body away, face a wall, pull your hands up, don’t look at the dog and don’t say anything. Wait it out, sometimes it can take a minute. Peek around, as soon as they have all four feet on the floor, “Good Dog”, immediately reach down and pet the dog. If they jump up again, turn away very fast, remove your hands, and fold them up high.
- If your dog will jump on your back do this – Example of you coming home. Open the door, dog is excited and jumping. Close the door. Crack the door open, dog jumps, close the door. Ask for a sit. Keep trying. When you can get 1-2 seconds of non-jumping, reach down and pet your dog and help him not jump. See tips below.
- Do something else – If your dog is toy oriented you can have them fetch a toy when someone comes to your door. You can toss out the toy or have your dog bring you the toy. If you dog has a “go to bed” behavior, this is another way to solve the problem.
- Train a rock steady sit – To get step #6, you will need a fast, reliable sit. This takes practicing sits on your walks, all over your house or RV, in a park. Bring treats with you on walks and reward the great fast sits. Practice with treats on your daily walk. Pull off to the side of the trail do 10 fast sits in a row. Make it a game. Working on getting 15 sits in a 30 second time frame. Having a fast sit will help you in many situations. Play this game in your RV, sits all over the RV, even on the bed and couch. Then go outside and do them all around the RV.
- Teach how to greet politely – Now that you have a solid sit in the face of distractions, practice sitting for meeting people. Always ask your dog to sit and then let the person approach. If your dog jumps up, say “too bad”, and walk away. Try again with the same or another person. If you dog has been jumping up a lot prior to this training, this will take some practice. Try walking in a busy place and have your dog meet many people, as long as your dog is sitting upon greeting.
- Manage the situation – Management is always an option when you don’t have a behavior trained like you want. It’s no big deal, no one has a perfectly trained dog in every situation. If you know your dog will jump on people and you are having friends over, just manage the situation. Put your dog in his crate, another room or just tie your dog to something stable. Many times it’s very helpful for the dog to have everyone in the house and settled, then have your dog meet everyone. By then all human greetings have taken place and the energy has settled.
- Try this trick – This works best for young dogs and a dog that you know well, yours or a relatives. When the dog begins to jump, put each of your thumbs inside the collar, hands on the outside of the neck. Now you can pet the dog and keep the dog with all four feet on the ground. Basically you are holding the dog down with your thumbs in the collar. If the dog is very large or has any issues with being touched do not try this.
I hope these tips help if you have a jumper. As always, have fun with your dog and be kind.