How Can I Stop My Dog From Jumping Up?

Jumping up at people is a common canine behaviour. However, it can be an annoying habit – especially if this involves your dog jumping up at children, or the elderly. 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. However, contrary to popular belief, jumping up is not a sign of dominance. but it can accompany some cases of other aggressive behaviour.

Dogs are often reinforced for jumping up because many people find it endearing and praise the dog. When it involves over excitement, though, the behaviour can become problematic. Many dogs will see this as a game and do it all the more.

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. To stop your dog from jumping up, read on for a few hints and tips.

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. While we do want to positively reinforce many of our dog’s behaviours, we can accidentally encourage those we don’t want to see. To discourage your dog from jumping 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 into an excited frenzy. Then, when the giddy pooch 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.

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 approach can actually increase the behaviour, since dog may become more excited, or more agitated.

Worse, still the dog may become fearful of you. 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 become irritated if he jumps up with muddy paws. This is confusing for the dog. Therefore, to stop your dog from jumping up, it is important to be consistent with your responses to his behaviour.