Wouldn’t it be easy if we could simply tell our dog what we would like for it to do? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and if you want your dog to follow commands, it’s going to take some time and training.
Jumping is something every dog owner wants to control. Nobody wants to invite friends and family over to deal with the embarrassing situation of a dog jumping on them. Even though your dog is only trying to be friendly and say hello, sometimes they can unintentionally scratch a person or dirty their clothes. Some people may simply not like dogs, and some may be allergic. It’s even more important that large dogs learn not to jump, as they can easily knock over a child or elderly person.
The good news is training your dog not to jump may be easier than you think, as long as you are consistent and diligent. Here are some tried and true strategies to train your dog not to jump.
How to Train your Dog Not to Jump
Ignore the behavior
The easiest way to train your dog not to jump is to simply walk away or ignore the jumping. Each time you walk in the door and your dog jumps, ignore the behavior, walk out and close the door. After waiting about thirty seconds, open the door and try again. Each time your dog jumps, do not acknowledge the animal, and repeat walking out of the door. Continue until your dog does not jump, and then reward the dog by acknowledging it or petting it. With time, the dog will learn that the jumping is not an effective way to greet or get attention. Make sure you are always consistent, and never allow your dog to jump. For example, do not allow your dog to jump on a guest just because he or she loves dogs and doesn’t mind. If you have guests, ask them not to acknowledge or pet the dog if it jumps, but to ignore the behavior until the dog stops jumping.
Hold the collar or leash
At times your dog may become very excited, and you may need an instant, short-term solution for getting the dog not to jump. This may be the case if you have company, are going for a walk and see other people, or there is a child or elderly person present. If this situation arises, holding the dog’s collar firmly is an effective way to show the dog it is not appropriate to jump. This can be done by placing the thumb underneath the collar and palm facing down on the dog’s back, and standing firmly until the dog stops jumping. If your dog is wearing a leash, you can step on the dog’s leash and stand still until the dog stops jumping.
Teaching your dog a counter-command is a great way to get your dog to stop an unwanted behavior. A counter-command is an action that makes it impossible for the dog to perform the unwanted action. Teaching your dog to sit is a great way to keep the dog from jumping. Sitting makes it impossible for the dog to jump, as its front paws are on the floor. Consistently commanding your dog to sit when it is jumping will reinforce that jumping is an unwanted behavior.
Always reward the dog for not jumping by petting, playing with a toy, giving a treat, showing affection or acknowledging the good behavior in some way. Each time your dog is rewarded for not jumping will reinforce that jumping is not an acceptable behavior.
What To Avoid
- Never reward your dog for jumping. If you pet your dog or acknowledge it, this will reinforce the behavior and teach your dog that jumping is acceptable.
- Do not punish your dog for jumping. Jumping is a way for the dog to show affection, so if the dog is punished for jumping, it may jump more in an attempt to please the owner.
- Don’t try to teach your dog commands such as “off” of “down”. If you are saying these commands, that means the dog has already jumped and therefore has already completed the action you wished to avoid. The dog is also receiving attention for jumping, which reinforces the behavior. The focus should be on avoiding the unwanted behavior, so these commands should not be used as they are allowing the behavior.
While jumping is a natural way for a dog to greet and show affection, it is an unwanted behavior as it can be a nuisance or even harmful to some people. It’s important to train dogs not to jump, to be consistent by always expecting your dog to not jump, and never rewarding or acknowledging the dog if it jumps. With a little time, patience and practice, anyone can train their dog not to jump.