How To Stop A Dog From Jumping Up On Strangers
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Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
Summary: If you’re wondering how to train a dog not to jump up, this blog explores just that. We’ll learn why dogs jump up on you and how to stop a dog from jumping up…
Why Do Dogs Jump Up On You?
Most of the time, a dog will jump up at someone to greet them. They greet other dogs with their faces, and they’re simply attempting to do the same with their human friends.
However, some house guests or strangers can react quite severely to a dog jumping up at them out of fear or surprise, and no matter how friendly your dog is being or how much you trust your dog, a person’s adverse reaction to their jumping can then cause a dog to develop anxiety around people or even lead to aggression.
It’s a good habit to train out of your dog – in an ethical, kind way of course!
How To Stop A Dog Jumping Up
A good tip to remember is that dogs learn to repeat behaviors they get rewards for. Attention is perceived by a dog as a reward and that includes any interaction - including yelling! Pushing them down can also be perceived as a game by some dogs, so this can also be considered a positive reinforcement to them. If you ignore your dog when they jump, they should eventually stop…
However, not everybody in the street or those who enter your household will know the rules. So, instead, for consistency, we need to teach them something new…
Now, what you’re going to need to ensure all four of your pup’s paws stay on the ground when someone enters your home or approaches you whilst out is tasty, nutritious dog treats and a willing volunteer to help you. Then, here’s the method to work through:
- Firstly, pop your dog on the leash and ask your volunteer to enter the home or approach you.
- Before your dog has a chance to pull or your volunteer has got to them, toss some of their tasty bites onto the floor.
- Whilst your pooch eats their yummy bites, have your volunteer pet, greet and praise them. Before they finish their treats, have your volunteer retreat from your pup.
- Repeat these steps a few times, and then when you’re all in the rhythm of it, extend your volunteer’s greeting time and keep popping the bites on the floor to keep your dog occupied down low.
- Then, you can start to test if they’ll stay on the ground by treating them after greeting your volunteer and if they’ve kept all of their paws on the floor. If not, have your volunteer turn their back and walk away, stop feeding them treats and go back and repeat the previous steps again.
- Fewer and fewer treats can be used as your dog gets more used to the activity and embeds this new behavior. In time, your pooch will learn that keeping their feet on the floor gets them more attention than when they jump up.
Never punish a dog for getting it wrong – dogs don’t understand punishment. They will just learn to be scared of you. Just rewind and try again with patience, positivity, and kindness.
It’s worth noting that training a dog is most effective in 10-minute bursts every few hours. So, after the first 10 minutes, take a break and then return for another 10 minutes an hour or two later. Do this over a couple of days to help them digest and embed the new behavior, and then keep returning to it regularly until it’s completely ingrained.
Author Gibeault, Stephanie MSc, CPDT “How To Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up On People” American Kennel Club, Dec. 23 2020 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-to-stop-your-dog-from-jumping-up-on-people/
Author Horwitz, Deborah DVM, DACVB and Landsberg, Gary DVM, DACVB, DECAWBM “Dog Behavior Problems - Greeting Behavior - Jumping Up” VCA Hospitals https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dog-behavior-problems-greeting-behavior-jumping-up