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One of the most common and annoying problems that dog owners face is dealing with a dog that is apt to jump up at them or worse, other people-and this is something that can not only be annoying but potentially dangerous as even a small dog throwing themselves at you can cause an injury if you are unlucky!
Many dog owners despair of ever successfully training their dog not to jump up despite repeated attempts and commands to tell the dog to get down and stay down, but ultimately, teaching a dog not to jump up at people is something that is reasonably straightforward-assuming that you have the right approach!
Unfortunately, not many dog owners know the right way to tackle jumping up once it has become an established behaviour, and going about things in the wrong way will of course generally fail. In this article we will share five easy steps that are virtually universally effective when it comes to teaching a dog not to jump at people-the only other thing you need is patience and consistency!
Read on to learn how to train your dog out of jumping up at people in five easy steps.
A significant amount of dog owners inadvertently set the tone for a lifetime of jumping up when they first get a new puppy, because a small, adorable pup leaping at you for love and attention is almost impossible to resist.
However, allowing or even encouraging your pup to do this will come back to bite you further down the line, as you are ultimately creating or reinforcing a behaviour in your pup that you will later have to attempt to reverse.
Be sure to set a firm rule from the get-go that your pup is not permitted to jump up, and if the problem already exists, do not delay in terms of tackling it!
You do not need to use a special or unique command to tell your dog to get down or stay down, because the “sit” command (which also happens to be possibly the easiest command to teach and achieve reliable compliance with) is perfectly appropriate as it achieves the same result!
The “sit” command is usually the first command that a dog will learn and even newly bought or adopted pups usually pick it up quickly, learning in short order that an immediate sit will lead to a treat. This strong association between the behaviour and the reward usually leads to a prompt compliance regardless of what your dog is doing at the time, making it ideal for use in other applications when a quick response is desirable.
One of the worst and yet most common mistakes that dog owners make when training their dogs or giving commands is to keep repeating the command over and over again until the dog complies, which is very hit-and-miss as well as annoying and frustrating.
Work on the sit command and take some time out now and then to refresh the command in your dog’s mind with compliance and a treat, and never ask your dog to do something more than twice lest they begin to see it as a gentle suggestion rather than a command or worse, as part of the background noise!
So you want to use the “sit” command to curb jumping up and understand that repeating the same command over and over without compliance is not a good thing-so what do you do if (or when!) your dog ignores you and keeps jumping up?
The simple answer is to ignore their behaviour. This is obviously not always possible, such as if your dog is jumping up at a stranger on a walk-in a situation such as this, your priority must be to stop the behaviour in that instance rather than using it as a teaching opportunity at the other party’s expense, and so may mean physically pulling your dog away.
However, before you get to this stage and at regular intervals to refresh your dog’s skills, you should work through the command process with your dog and use the process to demonstrate what happens if your dog does not comply.
If you get a successful response to the sit (particularly in a highly loaded situation or if there is a lot going on) always praise your dog and offer treats regularly. This means that your dog will get used to compliance equalling a reward.
However, if your dog keeps jumping up despite your command, this is because they are looking for a reward of their own, which in this case is attention from the person they are jumping at. Take away this perceived reward-attention or a response-and the activity will no longer be worthwhile to your dog and ultimately, they will realise this and stop doing it.
If you have given your dog the “sit” command a couple of times already and your dog isn’t having it, do not tell them off, pull them down or otherwise react.
Relax your body, keep your face neutral and put your arms by your sides in a statue-like manner, and wait for your dog to realise that they aren’t getting anything. At this point, your dog may well sit of their own accord (in which case, praise and reward) or will be ready to accept the command again.
If your dog jumps up again as soon as you give them a response, return to statue-mode and start again!
Consistency and repetition is the key, but that is all there is to it-dog owners that fail to succeed during the process are almost invariably those that cannot manage to consistently ignore the dog and work through the process.
Jumping up at other people is of course one of the main issues with a jumping up dog, but equally, some other people are apt to encourage your dog to jump up or otherwise enable such behaviour.
If your dog cannot be trusted not to jump up at people on walks, put them onto the lead when other people come into sight, and put them into a sit (with the lead for extra control) when people pass.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to keep your dog from jumping up but the other person is either not helping or says that they don’t mind and so, do nothing to stop your dog themselves, this can be confusing for your dog and put their training back somewhat.
However, there is little that you can do to change the behaviour of other people you might meet out in public and so while this can be frustrating, it is something that you will have to learn to deal with.
As long as you remain consistent and don’t let your dog get away with slip-ups, the message should ultimately be driven home, being as you are your dog’s boss and pack leader and at the end of the day, the person that your dog should respect and look to above all others.
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