Don’t jump up!

Dog Doc – How to stop your dog jumping up

Question 4: How do I stop my dog from jumping up at people?

Here is a clip of Brian saying hello to Ounce.  She adores him, so she jumps up and that suits him, he can make a fuss of her far more easily that way, without having to bend down.  He loves to be welcomed by the dogs and they love to say hello to him.

But that is not always what is wanted is it? One of the most annoying things about dogs is when adult dogs coming rushing over to you and jump up into your face – most people hate it.  Quite a lot of people are frightened of dogs who do this and no-one wants a load of mud on their clothes and slobber in the their face; it’s just rude.

What can we do about it?  Here’s another video clip:

Once again, Ounce is very excited to welcome her dad and Chris is pleased to make a fuss of her.  This time though, he remembers his training and when she comes back to him he resists when she jumps up.  He waits until she has got back down before making a fuss of her.

Now see what happens when Maggie comes in to see all the dogs:

You can just about see Ounce in the middle of everything.  She is trying really hard NOT to jump up and to wait for Maggie to fuss her.  She then gives up and runs over to tell me how exciting it all is.  Ounce goes back, forgets again, but then sits and Maggie makes a fuss of her, rewarding her for stopping jumping up.

So what can we learn from all this?  The best way to stop your dog from jumping up is to turn away from them and to ignore them when you come in the door.  This clip is me trying to demonstrate this:

It’s not a very exciting clip, because the adults all know that I won’t reward them for being really pleased to see me (Zippy the spaniel doesn’t quite know that, but she has just been staying for a week).  When Ounce does jump up at me, I turn away from her and she immediately gets down.

The real challenge is to try and encourage others to turn away and ignore the jumping up behaviour.  That is the really difficult part, and why so many people find it impossible to reinforce the desired behaviour.  When someone makes a fuss of your dog while they are jumped up, they reward that behaviour.  So when I’m out with Ounce, I really love it if people can resist the urge to fuss her when she bounces up to them.

Another part of this challenge, is that when people don’t like the dog jumping up and they push them and shout ‘get down’ at them.  Jumping up is a demand for attention and guess what?  When you push them and shout at them, they are being rewarded! Again, turning away and ignoring is the absolutely best thing you can do.

Please note: I am not a qualified dog behaviourist or trainer.  I have owned border collies for many years and raised a number of puppies, so I am an experienced dog owner, that is all.  Information provided here represents my opinion, based on my experience.

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