Contrary to popular belief, this is not considered to be a sign of dominance. However, it can be an annoying habit, especially if this involves your dog jumping up at children, or the elderly. It can also be a nuisance if you end up with muddy paw prints all over your best clothes. So, if you’re wondering how you can stop your dog from jumping up – read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out more.
Why do dogs jump up?
Dogs naturally greet each other face to face. Therefore, dogs will jump up to get nearer to your face, so they can say hello properly.
Jumping up is also reinforcing for the dog because, usually, the dog gets attention – even if this means being shouted at and pushed away. Many dogs will see this as a game and do it all the more.
Jumping up can sometimes be associated with aggressive behaviour. In addition, dogs will often jump when they are excited. In other cases, dogs will jump up because they want something, or they are trying to communicate to you what they want.
How to address nuisance jumping up.
Stop Reinforcing the behaviour –
Dogs will usually repeat the behaviour of jumping up because they are being reinforced for doing it – even if the owner does not realise it. When your dog jumps up, fold your arms over your chest and turn away from him. At this point, he will have to put his feet on the floor to follow you.
As soon as his feet are firmly back on the ground drop a couple of very tasty treats on the floor. Dropping treats on the floor encourages him to focus downwards, rather than jumping up to get his treat. As he begins to get the idea you can then reward from your hand.
You will need to do this every single time he jumps up. Ideally, you need to get every family member to do this. Make sure nobody is encouraging the dog to jump up by getting him too excited. This is particularly important with pups and young dogs. Teenagers, as I have found in my experience, are brilliant at winding dogs up and then once the dog is bouncing off the walls – announce they are now going out! This does nothing to help your training regime! – So address this before you start.
Positive reinforcement –
If your dog does manage to jump up, especially if this is towards a visitor, gently remove him – (the dog not the visitor!). If your pooch is very persistent, it will help if you have a very short lead attached to his collar which will make it easier to guide him away. As soon as he is calm with his feet on the floor – reward with a tasty treat.
If your dog starts jumping up as soon as you enter a room, or return home – close the door enough to stop him and ask him to sit. Wait until he is calm and then open the door again. If he gets up, close the door and so and so forth until he stays sitting as you enter the room.
Teach your dog to sit, or lie down on cue –
If your dog will reliably sit, or lie down, when you ask him – you can get him to do this before he has chance to jump up. Aim to teach these exercises without any distractions or exciting stimulus, such as the arrival of visitors.
Don’t punish your dog for jumping up –
Never smack, or shout at the dog, for jumping up. This is only likely to increase the behaviour, as he may see this as a game or worse, he could be scared by your behaviour. In turn, this may damage the progress you make with training.
Be consistent –
The problem with jumping up is that sometimes we accept the behaviour, and at other times we get annoyed. We may encourage jumping up while playing with the dog, but then get annoyed if he jumps up with muddy paws. This is confusing for the dog. Therefore, it is important to be consistent with your responses to his behaviour.