Top Training Tip: Jumping up

First rule of not having a dog jump on you:   

Don’t let her learn how to do it! 

If, however, your dog is already jumping up, you can follow these steps to teach her not to.   

  • Never give your dog any attention unless all four of her feet are on the floor.  
  • Ask all your visitors to not pay any attention to your dog unless she is calm and has all four feet on the ground.  If you have ONE person every few weeks who gives her attention when she jumps, this behaviour will continue.  
  • If you are unable to arrange with your visitors not to respond to your dog jumping, it is better to manage the situation – the two most efficient ways to do this are to 1) to keep her away from the visitors and only allow her in once everyone has settled, and 2) keep her on lead when introducing her to people, so you can control the situation and ask them to only greet her when she is calm and not jumping up.  Prior to bringing your dog into the room,  give your guests a little information on how you want them to interact with her and what you want them to do – i.e. waiting until she has all four paws on the floor before they greet her.  
  •  When introducing your dog to people, don’t hold on to the lead too tightly, you want to be able to give her the space to decide what to do, but you also have the lead to control the situation if she does try to jump up.  You want to pre-empt the jumping all together, as some dogs get a buzz out of simply being able to jump up! 
  • If she does jump up, don’t push  her or tell her to get down.  Your dog is jumping up to get attention, and negative attention is still interpreted as attention. So if she jumps up at you turn away from her and pay her no attention until all four paws are on the ground. If there are children around, ask them to “make like a tree” and freeze, folding their arms out of the way and standing dead still.  
  • If you don’t want your dog to jump up on you, don’t make eye contact as she is approaching you.  This is an absolute invitation that few dogs are able to resist!
  • The best thing to do is teach her what sort of greeting behaviour you would like her to do, something that is incompatible with jumping up. Teaching her to come to you and Sit is a good option, because she can’t physically sit and jump up at the same time.
  • Repeat this with every member of the family and as many visitors as possible, but make sure you brief them about what they are supposed to do first!
  • Then – last but not least – if the guests are not dog friendly or will not comply with what you want them to do with regard to your dog jumping, rather keep her out of their reach, as they will only teach your dog bad manners that will take a concerted effort to retrain.  Inconsistent feedback only serves to confuse dogs, and it can make a problem behaviour like jumping up very difficult to change.

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