A dog jumping up may seem like an enthusiastic greeting and innocent excitement, but this poor behavior can lead to less discipline. With larger dogs, uncontrolled jumping can even frighten or injure the people who get jumped on. Fortunately, it is possible to train your dog to use calmer, more appropriate greetings.
Why Dogs Jump Up
Before training your dog not to jump, it is important to understand that this is not usually aggressive or angry behavior. In fact, jumping is a way dogs greet their pack leader and get attention from the most important member of their family – you. Jumping brings the dog closer to your face and mouth, where they can sniff some of your strongest odors, critical for canine communication. This behavior also expresses joy and enthusiasm, and is a way for the dog to release happy energy. Because jumping up is such an important part of a dog's communication, it is difficult to simply tell a dog to stop – jumping is natural and instinctive, and it will take patient, consistent training to discourage inappropriate jumping up.
To Stop a Dog Jumping Up
There are several techniques you can use to teach your dog that jumping up isn't welcome.
Ignore the Greeting
When dogs jump up, they are seeking acknowledgement and praise from their pack leader. If you give them that attention, you are only encouraging their poor behavior. Instead, as soon as the dog jumps up, walk away or turn your back so they cannot complete the greeting. When the dog calms down and stops jumping, praise or reward their reaction, but continue to ignore them if they return to jumping.
Model Calm Behavior
Avoid any reactions that can inadvertently excite your dog and cause more poor behavior. Do not greet your dog with an excited, silly voice, running around or other exuberance. Model calm behavior for your dog and they will take clues from you about what is an appropriate and welcome greeting.
Bend Down to Your Dog
Help keep your dog's paws on the ground by bending down for a greeting so they have no need to jump up. This will allow them to acknowledge you, get your scent and accept your praise without jumping. When you stand up, however, be consistent in discouraging them from jumping up to continue to reach you.
Shorten the Leash
If your dog jumps up on people during walks, a shorter leash can help keep them under better control because they will not have as much slack for jumping. You do not want to yank on the leash, but firm control can remind your dog that jumping is not allowed.
Practice Related Commands
Use commands such as "sit" "stay" "no" or "down" firmly whenever your dog begins to jump up. These are commands you can practice in many situations, and if your dog is well-trained to follow them, they are more likely to respond to the commands and stop jumping.
Provide More Exercise
Many dogs jump up because they have excess energy and want to express it. If your dog gets enough exercise – longer walks, a vigorous game of fetch or any other play – they will be less exuberant with their greetings.
Continue Using Other Commands
If you want your dog to obey commands that keep them from jumping up, you need to use appropriate training for many different situations. The more your dog responds to different commands – how to walk properly, learning tricks, waiting for mealtime, etc. – the more likely they are to recognize your authority in every situation, including obeying commands not to jump up.
Start Training Early
It may seem cute and sweet when a cuddly puppy jumps up to greet its family, but as the dog grows bigger it can become less cute and more dangerous. If you've encouraged a puppy to jump up, however, it can be harder to train a mature dog to stop. Instead, begin training a young puppy not to jump, and they will quickly learn the appropriate behavior.
Practice With Others
While your dog may learn not to jump up on you, will they still jump on other people? Enlist family members, friends and others to practice the same commands with your dog so your pet can generalize the command and use appropriate behavior no matter who they are greeting.
It takes time, patience and perseverance to train your dog not to jump up. It is best to use multiple techniques to help your pet learn the proper greeting behavior, and with consistent practice, your dog's manners will improve.