It’s natural for a puppy to jump up on other dogs to say hi, and some dogs might be trying to make themselves taller than another dog to show a higher status in the social pack. Dogs may jump on people either as a friendly greeting, or when trying to establish dominance too. Many people think this is cute when the dogs are small or a puppy, but for dogs that are (or will be) medium-sized or large, teaching them not to jump up on people can prevent small children, seniors, and less dog-savvy people from getting hurt or scared. It helps a dog understand that people have different rules than other dogs – it’s good doggie manners! With your newly adopted dog or puppy, here are some simple tips to train Miss Jumping Jellybean not to jump up on people:
- Turn away and ignore Jellybean jumping up. For this to work, EVERYONE must be on board: family, visiting friends, everyone must be told “TURN & IGNORE when Jellybean jumps on you!”
- Be still & quiet. Kids and people that squeal, make noises, or move around when a dog jumps on them are rewarding the jumping up! Kids sometimes understand this better when you tell them “be a boring tree”.
- Don’t look at Jellybean. Just looking at her is also a reward!
- Reward for standing! Once Jellybean puts all four of her paws on the floor, everyone can look at her, pet her, talk to her, praise her! If she jumps up again, return to being a boring tree until she’s four paws on the floor again.
- No contact. Never use your knee, hands, feet or legs to push into a dog that is jumping up. That is physical attention – again, a reward, the opposite of what you want to do when Jellybean jumps up. Crossing your arms will help keep your hands out of the mix.
- Ouch! Never step on their back toes or squeeze her front paws!! That painful punishment is just not necessary, and doesn’t make them understand what they should be doing instead of jumping up. (And sometimes dogs will then try to “squeeze” your front paws aka hands back – with their mouth!)
- * Sit! If she’s sitting, she’s not jumping up! Here’s a 50 second video how to train your dog to sit.
- Stay! Teach her the “stay” command, and have her “stay” as you come in and out of the front door. Lots of rewards when she holds her stay when you come through the door! Then get friends and family to practice with you. and here’s a 48 second video showing how to train stay.
- Play & shake! Some super energetic dogs do better shaking a toy or catching a ball when greeting someone new, rather than sitting for petting. Keep a toy by the front door or with you out on walks when you might meet people, and use it as both a distraction and reward in addition to the praise when they meet someone and don’t jump up.
- Take a training class. Learning basic commands will help Jellybean listen when you say “sit” and to improve her overall control of herself and ability to listen and take cues from you about what you like and don’t like. You’ll also then have the help of a professional trainer if you are facing a challenge with jumping Jellybean even after consistently following the tips above for a few weeks.
Last but not least, remember to focus on what the behavior you want, the behavior Jellybean is doing that you like. Praise her for it, let her know, and pay attention to that — what we focus on grows, especially with dogs as it’s all reinforcement to them! If your dog just can’t stop jumping for joy, you may want to talk to your trainer about giving her “jumping outlets” and structured time when you ask for a jump and she can release that urge at the appropriate times. Putting “jump” on command is a great way to let her know it’s not ok to jump other times. Just remember to give her jumping time – like in an agility course or out on a hike – so she can remember it’s now become a command. And hey, you could always try jumping with her for some fun!