Petiquette With Jim Burwell: Easy Ways to Train Your Dog Not to Jump on People

Have you ever been all dressed for work, church, or special occasion only to have your dog jump on you and get your clothes all dirty, or worse, knock you down. Are you tired of having to apologize to guests as they come in when their first introduction is to your dog looking like a pogo stick as he jumps up and down on them?

There are several ways to go about fixing the dog behavior of jumping on people. You can choose one or use a combination of approaches. Whichever you choose, always remember that consistency and repetition are what make dog behavior modification work. Everyone in the family has to be on the same page with what approach you are going to use and stick with it. There is no yelling or forcefulness involved in any of this.

Dogs react as a direct result of the way we react to them.

Our dogs are very social and they get excited very easily, so when we come home, they jump up on us to greet us. So, even though we don’t like this, we, as dog owners, STILL give them some type of reinforcement. We either pet them and let them continue to jump and lick because we love our dogs! OR, we yell at them, push them off, tell them they’re bad—pick one.

Next time this happens make sure you are aware of the way you interact with your jumping dog. Learn what reinforces the behavior of jumping. Whether you are petting or yelling at your dog when they jump on you, you ARE giving that behavior attention, which reinforces the behavior. If you continue to pet or yell or whatever at your dog, the behavior will continue because you are reinforcing it. Think about it like a child having a temper tantrum.

  • Do NOT give the behavior any attention. When you come home, simply come in the door, walk past your dog, put your things down and the dog gets absolutely no attention till the jumping stops. Then and only then can you pet the dog, BUT you still must not make a big production of it as your excitement will then have the dog jumping again. If that happens, again no attention. Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • When your dog jumps up, immediately turn your back on the dog and pay no attention to the dog. Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Attach a leash to your dog and have your dog in front of you with YOUR foot on the leash high enough on the leash so that when he attempts to jump he can barely get his front paws off the ground. Talk excitedly to your dog (do NOT call his name), get him excited so he will jump. When he tries to jump, your foot on the leash prevents him from jumping and the dog self corrects.
  • Train your dog to sit, request a sit when guests come over. If you can get a good reliable sit stay, your dog can not jump when in a sit stay.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog, as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell

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