Hi mutt lovers, the following is my approach on how to stop your dog’s jumping habit.
It’s not easy! Some dogs love to jump. It’s their way of saying hi or to express affection or that they want to play.
Managing a dog’s jumping is really about teaching the dog some self-control.
For this post, I’m focusing on dogs that jump on people in the house, mostly in doorways since that seems to be the most common problem.
I’ll share my ideas but as always I hope you’ll share some of your ideas in the comments.
How to Stop Your Dog’s Jumping
I’ve broken this into 4 ideas:
- ignoring and
I summarize everything in the video first. Or, you can read about it further down.
This video appeared first in Mighty Paw’s private Facebook group. Mighty Paw is a partner of That Mutt, and they make high-quality dog collars, leashes, harnesses and other gear. Check them out HERE.
So, to expand on the video a bit:
#1: Decide on your rules.
What behavior is appropriate for dogs in your house?
The first strop to stop your dog’s jumping is to decide on your own rules and be consistent. If you don’t know what is “allowed,” how is your dog supposed to know? All family members and roommates should be on board with the same rules.
For example, I don’t mind if my dogs run up and greet me at the door and show excitement. I like that. However, I do expect them to settle down shortly afterwards, and I do not allow any barking or jumping. Your rules might be a little different.
#2: Prevent the jumping.
So much of dog training is actually PREVENTION.
Prevent bad habits long enough, and they’ll begin to decrease and go away.
If I don’t allow my dogs to jump, they form a new habit.
So how do you prevent a dog’s jumping?
It depends on the dog, but here are some general ideas:
Lots of exercise! 60 to 90 minutes of physical exercise every single day! When I take my dog Remy running consistently, he does not jump on me. If we miss a day, he jumps because he has extra energy. Drain their energy in other ways and they’ll have an easier time remaining calm.
Use food. You know when your dog is likely to jump, so during those times, keep dry food or treats in your pockets and just toss some on the ground before your dog has a chance to jump. Then you can even ask for a “sit” and reward that with more food.
Be calm yourself. Make sure you’re not unintentionally encouraging the jumping through your behavior and body language. Don’t laugh at your dog or talk to him when he jumps. Don’t pet him or touch him.
Keep your dog on a leash. This is for when you have visitors. If your dog behaves better on a leash, by all means, use a leash for now! Remember, we’re preventing the jumping for now while we work on teaching a new habit.
Hand him a chew toy or bully stick. This can work well when people visit. Some dogs will take the bully stick and retreat to their bed for some chew time. Of course, some dogs will just get more riled up and run around with their “prize” so you have to know your dog.
#3: Truly IGNORE your dog’s jumping.
This advice to ignore your dog or to “stand like a tree” does work BUT you have to truly ignore your dog!
This is very difficult for most people. Most people do not know how to truly ignore a dog.
Here’s how you truly ignore a dog:
- Show no emotion
- Don’t look at your dog
- Don’t talk to your dog or laugh at your dog (don’t even smile)
- Do not touch your dog or interact in any way
- You basically give a cold shoulder!
- Focus on something else, even if you’re pretending (Dogs use this tactic with each other!)
What you need to do is basically become like a zombie – no emotion. You’re not angry or excited or stressed. Stare at your phone or the TV or focus on someone else.
Also, this is important, DO NOT SPIN IN CIRCLES trying to avoid your dog. This is not a way to ignore a dog, this is a fun game for your dog!
Ignoring your dog might cause him to jump more
When you first start ignoring your dog, he’s probably going to jump on you more. You’ll have to take a few punches and scratches.
Jumping on you has worked to get attention in the past, so your dog is going to try it and he’s going to keep trying. If you give in and scold him or try to push him away, he’s going to learn he just has to jump on you several times to get your attention.
So be strong! Do not give in to the crazy mutt! Haha.
If you ignore your dog for jumping (truly ignore), eventually the behavior will decrease.
#4: Reward calm behavior
Interact with your dog and reward him when he’s calm.
He’s sitting? What a good boy! He’s standing there on all fours. Wow, such a smart dog. Goooood boooy.
Don’t get him excited again with your praise, but keep a calm, slow voice and pet him slowly.
Treats help too as long as your dog doesn’t go nuts over food! A clicker is also a good option for marking the good behavior here.
Finally, what about corrections to stop your dog’s jumping?
So you’re using prevention. You’re ignoring the jumping, and you’re rewarding good behavior.
What if your dog still jumps?
Positive reinforcement is great and we should all use it as much as possible but sometimes a firm, well-timed correction can go a long way.
So much depends on the individual dog.
Unfortunately, most dogs will enjoy being scolded because they have your attention. A firm “NO!” might work for a few dogs. My weimaraner laughs at me when I scold him. He thinks it’s wonderful that I’m paying attention to him. He likes to be scolded.
Here are some other options for interrupting a dog that jumps:
A squirt bottle of water. This works for some dogs. Others (like mine) think this is a fun game. You can get a cheap water bottle for $1 just about anywhere. You would give a quick squirt to interrupt the jumping. Then praise.
Doggie Don’t Device. This is a handheld device that makes a loud static noise. It does not harm the dog, but it will interrupt the dog for a moment and then you can quickly reward a more appropriate behavior. Doggie Don’t Device is a sponsor of That Mutt. You can get free shipping with code MUTT CLICK HERE
Of course there are other products you can try too depending on what might work for your dog. Each dog is different, and you know your dog best.
Jumping is a serious problem with some dogs, especially if the dog is also nipping at people. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trainer if you need some help to keep everyone safe. (Note that it’s normal for all puppies to jump and nip. Don’t be overly concerned if your puppy is doing this.)
Ok, so those are my thoughts.
Questions? Problems? Ideas?
How did you stop your dog’s jumping?
Let us know in the comments!
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