One of the most common training issues that I see people struggle with is with their dog jumping on themselves and guests. Dogs love to interact with us, and jumping up is a fun way for them to do so. They do not realize that this is an undesirable behavior unless we tell them. Jumping up on people can even be dangerous when it happens with young kids or elderly people.
I see lots of people try to stop jumping by pushing the dog away with their hands or their feet. This is one of the absolute worst things that you could possibly do to stop the behavior. Don’t forget that your dog is jumping on you to get attention from you. You pushing on them is not something that they necessarily see as a punishment, but rather as more interaction from you.
Instead, we need to show the dog that the only way that they get positive interaction with you is by keeping their feet on the floor. We can teach the dog a more appropriate greeting position, such as a default sit. This will encourage them to think before they jump on you. The dog may still need a consequence for jumping, but implementing corrections is something that should be done under the guidance of a trainer. Eliminating jumping allows you to then show the dog the proper way to accept greetings. You can pet and interact with your dog all they want, and they can express their excitement while still keeping their feet on the ground.
We also have to look at the reason for why your dog is jumping up. 9 times out of 10, jumping is a sign of excitement, over-stimulation, and overly social behavior. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes jumping can be a pushy behavior that can be tied to an aggression issue. Some other dogs will jump on their owner when they get scared and nervous as a way to seek out safety. An experienced dog trainer can help you to determine the root cause of your dog’s jumping.
If you know that your dog is jumping from just pure excitement, then you can manage this behavior through an incompatible behavior. Simply put, you need to assign your dog to a behavior that they cannot do at the same time that they are jumping, This could be a sit or down stay, but I prefer to use a place command. Place still gives your dog the freedom to wiggle and be excited, but in a way that is more pleasant for your guests and yourself.
As with any behavioral issue, the best way to stop jumping is to prevent it from happening in the first place. When you get a new puppy or dog, be sure to start setting your expectations from day one. If you allow bad habits to start developing, it will be that much more difficult to stop them.
If you are struggling with jumping or other behavior problems, be sure to contact us so that we can help you out.