Have you ever walked into someone’s house only to be knocked over by their dog? That kind of behavior may seem normal to pet parents but to a person who is afraid of dogs (or just doesn’t like being jumped upon), it can be extremely annoying, frightening as well. Therefore, teaching a dog to greet visitors politely without jumping on them is an essential part of training a dog. Many dogs also jump up on people (read strangers) while they are out on walks. So we will consider some tips to stop a dog from jumping and nipping.
Why train your dog not to jump up on people
A dog jumping up on people is not only annoying but it can also be extremely frightening. Elderly people certainly should not be jumped upon; they could be knocked down which is dangerous. The same is true with toddlers and babies. That is why your dog needs obedience training. Obedience training should commence at a young age, preferably when your dog is still a puppy. With the proper commands, you can easily prevent your dog from jumping up on people on walks and also on your house visitors.
Why do dogs jump up?
According to canine expert trainers, Jack and Wendy Volhard, the behavior of ‘dogs jumping up on people’ goes back to the weaning process. A dam (a puppy’s mother) stands up to feed and the young litter has to stand on their hind legs to suckle. As her milk supply dries up, the pups try to lick the dam’s mouth to get her to regurgitate some of her semi-digested meal. When she does this, the pups get a taste of their first solid food.
As dogs grow, they continue to jump up on people a sign of greeting; just like humans shake hands when they meet each other. Naturally, if you have a rather large dog, you’d want him to show a more sedate way of greeting people. Because not everyone likes being jumped upon, especially by a large hairy, slobbering dog, it is essential to control this canine behavior from the very beginning using the reliable SIT or OFF commands.
How to stop a dog from jumping on you
Dogs jump on their owners when they want to get their attention. You can curb this behavior using the following steps:
- Raise your knee so that your pet cannot reach you.
- If you are not good at balancing, you can turn your body away from the dog. Dogs hate it when their owners do that. But they also understand that they did something wrong when their owner does so.
- Continue facing away and ignoring your dog each time he jumps on you.
- Do this until he calms down and sits.
- Once he has stopped jumping and is calm, pay attention to him. You can praise him, reward him, and also give him a treat. Eventually, though, you must get him to obey without treating.
- This will reinforce the fact that he does not get attention unless he is calm and sitting.
Training or obedience classes can also help you teach your dog to stop jumping. Always start this training very early as it can get harder to teach an older dog. Never treat your pet if he jumps on guests. Some owners treat their dogs so that they will not jump on visitors. However, this only reinforces bad behavior.
Teaching your dog not to jump on visitors
For this training, you may want to enlist the help of a friend or a family member.. You can do this with clicker training. Invest in a good clicker.
- Click and get your dog to sit by using the SIT command.
- Once he sits, click and treat him. Say ‘good boy’. We are doing the above steps first because your dog needs to associate that clicking sound with rewards and praise as well as his sitting down.
- Now have your friend ring the doorbell and enter the house.
- Your dog will probably jump on him.
- Give the command to sit. Say it firmly. Your dog may be too excited and might not obey. Click, say his name and repeat sit firmly. You might have to repeat the command several times.
- Once he hears and obeys, click once, treat him right away and say ‘good boy’.
- Repeat the above steps several times and if possible, get different people to visit you. You can also get people to visit more ‘animatedly’ instead of gently. Tell them to squeal and say ‘Helloooooo, puppy’. Your pet needs to get used to this and he needs to learn to resist getting excited. Increase the amount of time and greeting enthusiasm so your dog can practice holding his ‘sit’ irrespective of the visitor’s reaction.
- Each time your dog sits, click, treat and praise him. Remember: timing is important. Your dog has to understand that he is being rewarded for not jumping up on the visitor. He must also learn to associate the clicking sound with the treating.
The more you practice with your pet, the better he will get at greeting visitors calmly.
How to stop a dog from jumping on strangers when out on walks
Use the following steps to stop your dog from jumping up on walks.
- Get a friend to help you.
- Put your dog on collar and leash.
- Practice walking your dog to your friend. When your dog jumps on him, say ‘OFF’ and pull him away.
- Turn around and approach your friend again.
- When he jumps up on your friend, again use the ‘Off’ command, and move away again.
- Practice these steps until your dog does not jump. Remember: repetition is important so your dog will learn what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. If you take him away and not repeat until he doesn’t jump, he won’t understand what is and isn’t expected from him.
- When he doesn’t jump, treat him. It will take a few times but he will understand that all 4 paws need to be on the ground for him to get rewarded.
- Praise and reward him when he is calm. Ask your friend to also alter his greeting enthusiasm. This way, your dog will understand that he needs to sit down quietly no matter how excited the person he is greeting is. Your dog needs to get a lot of attention and reward when he isn’t jumping. Practice several times, with consistency, so that your pet learns he should not jump up on walks.
Do not allow people to pet your dog when he is jumping. This can be tough, but you need to tell them that you are training your pet. Be clear that when he jumps, he is taken away and does not get attention. When he approaches and doesn’t jump; he must receive praise. If he jumps up again during petting, say OFF, and move him away.
Stick with this consistently for a few weeks and soon you will have a well-behaved dog.