3 Easy Ways to Teach a Dog Not to Jump on People
A dog jumping up on people is a common problem, and it is one reason why a lot of people end up ignoring their dog and banishing it to the backyard (where the dog can dig, bark excessively, and try to climb the fence). However, it is something that is easy to deal with, and not a reason to exile a friendly animal.
So Why Do Dogs Jump up on People?
We stand up on two legs and dogs have to jump up to greet us. There is nothing more to it than that. Your dog is just trying to be friendly. She wants to say hello, she wants to say goodbye, or maybe she wants to tell you how excited she is about her new toy.
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How to Train a Dog Not to Jump
The most important thing to remember, no matter how you choose to train your dog, is to be consistent. If you let her jump up on you Saturday morning when you are wearing your old jeans, she will think that it is okay to jump up on you Monday morning when you are dressed for that important meeting. Your dog does not own an iPhone with a calendar, she cannot tell the difference between the weekend and a workday. Don’t let her jump up only when you are in the mood.
Teach Her to Sit: If you have not taught this command you should. It is one of the most basic obedience commands you need to teach every puppy. Every time your dog starts to jump up, tell her to sit and then lean down and praise her. If you do not feel like leaning down to scratch her ears, and tell her what a good dog she is, don’t even bother. Your dog is only going to perform consistently when she knows that you really care!
Tell Her to Go Fetch: If your dog acts like she is going to jump up and is so excited that she may not respond to a sit command, throw her something and tell her to go fetch. She will burn off some of the excess energy and when she comes back she should sit when you tell her to.
Turn Your Back on Her: You may need to do this for 10 seconds, you may need to do it for five minutes. All dogs are different, and if she is really excited she might continue to jump. Outwait her.
Note: This is not the best method for kids or the elderly. If your dog is big and might knock someone down, be sure to focus on the “sit” command to calm her down.
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Other Ways to Keep Your Dog From Jumping Up
I will give a list here of several alternatives that work as well as teaching her to sit, distracting her, or just ignoring her. Please keep in mind that—although many of these methods are recommended in dog training books and are even guaranteed to make your dog into a model companion—from a behavioral standpoint, they are likely to make your dog fearful and aggressive.
These methods might keep your clothes clean but they tend to ruin the bond you are forming with her. You might also end up consulting an expensive behaviorist or being sued after your dog bites a neighbor who happens to be carrying a fly swatter or similar item. So always be cognizant of how you shape and influence your dog’s behavior.
- Pop a plastic bag when your dog is about to jump up. This startles her. (Products like the Pet Corrector work well, too).
- Spray your dog in the face when she is about to jump up with a squirt bottle. I have been told this does not work with Labrador Retrievers since they love water and will jump up even more!
- Use your knee to block your dog from jumping up by lifting it diagonally across your body. This is better than using your hands. Never directly knee your dog—besides making the dog afraid of you, this technique may also end up injuring your dog.
Don’t Send Mixed Signals
My dog seems to have this exercise completely mastered. In fact, I’m sure she has learned this concept, except with an old German neighbor who comes by periodically to visit. He tells me that he is upset by my dog jumping up on him, but then proceeds to scratch her ears when she has her paws on his chest, and then lets her lick him in the face.
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He is giving her mixed signals. DO NOT do this to your dog.
Jumping is normal behavior and not something you should punish your dog for. If you don’t want a dog that jumps, you can utilize these training techniques, but they are not going to work for you overnight. Even if your dog is well trained, she might make a mistake. Don’t punish her for it. Just bend down and let her lick your face.
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