Taming A Jumping Dog
There's arguably nothing dogs love more than welcoming home you or your friends. We're all familiar with their leaping antics. It's much easier to tolerate when it's your own dog, but your guests may not share that same tolerance. For the comfort and safety of your guests and dog, it's best to nip this bad behavior in the bud. And with a bit of time, patience, and some treats, you can help your dog express their joy in better ways.
Why Do Dogs Like To Jump?
Dogs feel compelled to jump for a number of reasons. They learn the behavior as puppies, associating it with being a good way to greet friends. This works well between dogs, but it's less appropriate between dogs and humans. Dogs hope to receive attention and physical contact by jumping right up into our business, which they often receive. Even negative attention fuels this cycle. Pets and coos only add gas to the fire, so, you must operate and train in the gray area.
Dangers Of A Jumping Dog
Most of us are well aware of the annoyance jumping dogs cause. In general, it's hard to resist a cute dog jumping and feigning for your attention, especially small dogs or puppies. But for young children, this annoyance quickly becomes a risk. Little kids can easily be scratched, knocked down, or hit by an overexcited dog looking to express his joy. A happy experience for the child, their parent, and yourself can quickly turn sour. The risk is similar for the elderly. Like children, falling can pose a much greater risk for the elderly than you may be used to. An untrained dog can keep guests away, or at worst, actually harm them.
In a softer light, jumping dogs can dirty clothes or tear them. Even small dogs can leave dirty prints on pant legs and shoes; big dogs can take this dirt all the way to the chest and shoulders of their unlucky recipient.
If left untreated, jumping behaviors will only get worse, meaning it will become more and more difficult to correct the behavior the longer your dog gets away with it. Your dog may start to jump and hop every time they want your attention or touch, not just when you get home from work. This gets old fast, but it can be reversed.
How To Stop Your Dog From Jumping On People
- Ignore The Behavior
One of the best, and hardest, ways to dissuade a jumping dog is to ignore them. It can be tough to resist your dog, especially after a long day of work or school, but ignoring them is your best bet. If they are not receiving the attention they're after, your dog will begin wondering what else they could do to receive it. At this point, the training begins. You should also let your guests know about your plans--it'll take more than just you to help retrain your dog. Guests and family will need to ignore all jumps and hops, too.
- Redirect Their Attention
Your dog must be distracted before they can get a single paw off the ground. You can accomplish this by scattering treats on the floor or speaking a 'sit' command. Try employing the help of a friend for this step, inviting them in as you would a regular guest. Your dog will likely behave as usual, wanting to jump up and greet your guest. Before they can jump, throw some treats down. Have your friend make their way inside and behave as normal. If your dog jumps, wait until they calm down and return to the ground. Reward with treats once they're on the floor. Make sure your friend knows to ignore your dog rather than pushing them away or telling them 'no'.
- Only Reward Good Behavior
Make sure you are only giving your dog treats and attention when they're doing what you ask. If they're behaving properly with all paws on the floor, give them treats and praise. Any sort of attention they receive as they're jumping will only confirm that jumping is the best way to get attention. Have your friend join you in offering praise. Once your dog begins to grasp that staying on the floor is the behavior that gets rewarded, keep the rewards plentiful. Offer pets and treats, including your friend so your dog realizes that guests will also reward their good behavior.
As you repeat these steps, try to make the process as fun as you can. If the training is enjoyable, your dog will be that much more likely to obey and commit to your teachings,
- Don't Let Your Guests Become Enablers
This part can be tricky, but its benefits are major. Whenever possible, let your guests and friends know that you're training your dog to stop jumping. Tell them to ignore your dog, even if they want to greet and pet them. Crossing paths with strangers can be even harder, as it may feel weird to ask them to ignore your dog. In those cases, hold your dog at your side or cross the street to avoid any backtracks in their training. A collar hold works at home, too, or putting your dog into their kennel into their excitement dims. Training works best in the long run and is best to prioritize.
- Stay Consistent
Nothing will be more confusing to your dog than inconsistent training. They will understandably become confused, especially if one or more of your family members don't mind them jumping. Allowing jumping one day and ignoring it the next will reap no results--training must be a commitment on your part. If one of your family members doesn't mind jumping, make sure you have a command associated with jumping. This will help your dog see it as a command rather than a behavior, only to be done with whoever gives the command. Try a word like 'up', adding pats to your chest or legs to encourage jumping and hugs. If your dog extends this behavior to others, repeat your training cycle.