No matter how much we love our dogs, there are certain behaviors that we’d prefer them not to display. They might think it’s a good idea to jump on top of you or your family, but the chances are that you most certainly do not.
It’s a common behavioral issue even among the most friendly of dogs. So, how do you stop your pooch from being overly affectionate and giving your guests an unwelcome greeting? Read on for the lowdown on how to train a dog not to jump.
Why Do Some Dogs Jump up on Us?
You may have relegated your dog to the backyard for what feels like a thousand times after they’ve jumped all over the latest person to walk through the front door.
The problem is that their jumping is even more enthusiastic when you check on them. They’ve become yet more excited to see someone: and they’re now dirty too!
Often it all starts when they’re puppies. They may have developed a habit of standing on their hind legs to get nearer to you. We often then inadvertently reward them by petting and stroking them.
It’s more than likely that this kind of behavior is not aggressive but a symptom of attention-seeking. The difficulty is that when dogs get older, they tend to get bigger and stronger.
The Dangers of Jumping-up Behavior
Jumping-up habits can be risky as dogs grow up, especially for the elderly and children. Some dogs are powerful enough to knock people over or accidentally scratch them.
It’s not just annoying but dangerous for dogs too. If an older, more infirm dog has had no training, jumping can be harmful and cause injury to them as well.
If you have a puppy, it’s best never to let them even start to jump up. Explain to anyone who wants to pet them that they must only do so when your dog has four feet firmly on the ground. By doing this your pet will develop more appropriate ways to greet people.
Training a “teenage” or adult dog not to jump on people is definitely possible. It may, however, take more patience and perseverance than teaching a puppy. Here’s how to do it:
1. The Art of Sitting
Train your dog to sit, even if they’re excited. Once they’re in the “sit” position, reward them by petting. Focus on the moment because timing is crucial. Always praise once they’ve achieved the desired behavior, and not once they’ve stood up again.
Begin this training exercise in a quiet, calm place where there are no visitors. You can then gradually move on to locations that have more distractions. Practice will eventually make perfect.
The goal is to train your dog to understand that their default behavior must be to sit when they come into contact with you or anyone else.
2. Control Any Potential Excitement
When you enter the house, always do so quietly and calmly. An excited greeting will encourage your dog to reciprocate in the same way.
If you know you are going to have guests, keep your dog on a leash or confine them in a separate room for at least 15 minutes until everyone gets settled. It’s far easier for a dog to exercise some self-control after an initial quarter of an hour or so.
3. Create Some Distance
Don’t allow others to pet your animal if your dog standing on their hind legs. One of the best cures for jumping-up behavior is the withholding of attention.
How you do this will depend on the type of reaction your dog tends to display. You might, for example, be able to keep your hands to yourself and turn your back on your pet. In other circumstances, you may need to leave the room and create a degree of separation from your dog.
Never use punishment as a way to train your dog not to jump up. Don’t physically strike your dog if they jump up or use excessive force to get them down. If you do, you can cause your dog pain, injury or make them fearful of people. Always base your training on encouragement and reward.
4. Be Consistent in the Way You Train Your Dog
A head collar can help because it gives you more control when you increase the number of distractions. Consistency is vital so make sure everyone who regularly comes into contact with your dog is on the same page.
If you are planning to have visitors who haven’t met your dog before, explain in advance that you are training your dog and that they must not pet the dog until it’s in the “sit” position.
5. The “Come Cuddle” Technique
A combination of non-verbal and verbal commands is easiest for a dog to understand. A simple cue to go to a person’s knees is a good way to train your dog.
Begin by putting your open hands, with the palms facing outward, on the front of your knees. You’ll naturally be bending forward by performing this action.
When you tell your dog “come cuddle,” your inviting hands will likely draw them to you. You can then pet your dog. Practice the “come cuddle” process until your dog responds quickly.
Once they have mastered it with you, ask a family member or friend to step in and take up the same position. Get them to encourage the dog to come to them. After they have petted the dog, call your pet to “come cuddle” with your hands open at your knees as before.
You’ll soon find that when you say “come cuddle,” your dog will aim for the knees even if there are no hands there. Perseverance is key.
Start Training Early
The best favor you can do for a dog is to begin training them from an early age. Although it’s certainly possible to teach a dog new tricks, it can become more difficult in their later life.
We have plenty of other useful articles to help you look after your dog in our blog section. Read more here. We always have a vet on hand if you have any concerns about your pet’s welfare. Contact us for veterinary advice or to find out about our range of pet insurance products.