Don’t jump up!
A dog that jumps up at people is annoying. Fact. People rarely like it. Unless of course it is their dog, when they might actively encourage it. Which is a bit of a shame, because it makes training a lot more difficult.
If you are out walking your dog though, chances are you do NOT want them rushing up to strangers and leaping into their faces. So why do they do that? And what can we do about it?
Why dogs jump up
With this litter, my tenth, I finally realised why dogs jump up. When they were just a few weeks old, the mum is not with them all the time. She arrives into the den or run and they rush to greet her. Initially this is just for milk. They scrabble around to get onto a teat and when they are too big to fit lying down, she will stand so they can get into position underneath her.
A few weeks later, they have started to eat solid food. In the wild, this consists of her regurgitating food for them. The puppies all rush to her mouth and ‘kiss’ her, licking and pawing at her.
Steps to stop jumping up
It is perfectly possible to stop your puppy from jumping up at you. But it takes CONSISTENCY and you must be PERSISTENT. Here are the steps:
- Sit down with all members of your household and agree that this is a behaviour you want to stop. You can have plenty of cuddles with your dog, without letting them jump up when they see you.
- When you come into the room with your puppy, DO NOT give attention if they jump up at you. Say nothing. No eye contact.
- If they persist in jumping, turn away from them. Walk away from them, ignoring them completely.
- When they stop jumping up, bend down and give lots of praise and fuss. Ideally, say ‘yes!’ as you do this. You are rewarding the correct behaviour. Great.
- Model this behaviour for your family and friends. Ask them to copy you.
Out on walks
Ideally, you then need to continue this good practice when you are out and about. You should initially stop your puppy from greeting people on walks. Call your dog to you and reward their attention. Then when they are calm and still, the person you meet can bend down and make a fuss of them. Perfect!
What is rewarding?
There are various things that your dog finds rewarding:
- Praise – your dog loves you and anything you say in a positive voice is rewarding to them
- Patting – a gentle fuss around their head or ears is tremendously rewarding
- Play – activity with a toy is great fun!
- Food – (can’t think of a way to say food beginning with p). Of course food is a great reward. Tiny amounts though.
If you push your dog off you when it jumps up, you are rewarding it with ‘patting’. If you shout at it, you are rewarding it with ‘praise’ by speaking to it. Have a look at my ‘fun quiz‘ for more ideas about how not to reward your dog…
Managing visitors to your house
Of course not everyone you know will understand the importance of good dog behaviour and they may be really pleased to meet your dogs. But some visitors may be quite nervous around dogs and definitely don’t want to be leapt on!
When people arrive, put your dog away. Every home should have a separate space, even if it is just a bathroom. Ideally, it should be a room that the dog is used to being in on its own, so that it doesn’t try and wreck it if left for a few minutes.
Greet your guests, bring them in. Ideally, you want to get them seated and settled before you bring the dogs in. Then calmly let the puppy in. If people are sitting down there is less chance of them being jumped on and it is easier for the visitor to bend down to stroke them.
If the puppy jumps up, try calling them away. Calm them down, then let them try again. If they get too excited, take them away. Do this by calling them, not dragging them. Put them away again, preferably with a treat.
Good manners cost nothing
It’s just a bit of time and effort. You want other people to love your dog, so try to teach it to behave politely? I did train Ounce not to jump up, more or less. Here is the post of her progress at around this age.
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NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.