It may have been cute or funny during the puppy phase, but having a full-grown dog that constantly jumps up at house guests loses its appeal pretty quickly. Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be this way forever. Here’s what you need to do to stop a dog jumping up at other people.
Why Does Your Dog Jump Up at House Guests?
Before learning how to stop your dog from jumping up, it’s important to understand why they’re doing this in the first place. Not counting aggression (which is a completely different issue), it’s usually because a dog is seeking attention. If your dog has been doing this for a while, then chances are that you’ve also been inadvertently rewarding your dog for this unwanted behavior.
Let’s start with attention. Most dogs crave this, and jumping up is an almost guaranteed way to ensure that your house guests focus on the dog, rather than on you. Each time your dog has received attention for jumping up, they’ve been rewarded for the behavior. This attention doesn’t need to be positive to be perceived as a reward. Simply scolding your dog, which doesn’t help in the long run, turns your attention towards them, which is exactly what they want.
It doesn’t take long for jumping up to become a habit. It’ll soon start to happen each time your dog gets excited and tries to greet someone, making it important to nip this in the bud as soon as possible.
Step 1: Enlist the Help of a Few House Guests
In order to change a dog’s behavior, plenty of repetition is needed. Ideally, try to find a couple of house guests who are willing to help you with your training. They’ll need to understand the importance of ignoring your dog and not giving them any attention when they jump. Instead, tell them to simply cross their arms and turn away. Alternatively, they could also leave the room as soon as your dog starts to leap up.
Step 2: Use a Leash to Your Advantage
Having house guests that withhold attention from a jumping dog is a great help. However, this doesn’t actually stop a dog jumping up. It simply deals with the issue once it has already happened.
So, let’s take a look at prevention. One of the best ways to stop a dog jumping up is to keep a leash attached to their collar before you let your house guests in. This enables you to ensure that all four paws remain on the ground, without requiring you to touch your dog in any way. After all, physical touch is a form of attention.
If your dog still ends up jumping, use the leash to guide them into another room. Alternatively, place them behind a baby gate. Only once they’ve calmed down should you bring them back in, still on the leash, to greet your house guests.
Step 3: Teach an Appropriate Greeting
It’s easy enough to tell a dog what they shouldn’t do. However, good training also involves teaching them a more appropriate behavior to carry out instead. This also helps to distract them, making it a great way to stop a dog jumping up.
Most people opt for a “sit”, since this is easy to teach and works well around house guests. To do this, keep your dog in another room when your guests arrive. Then, put the leash on and walk your dog over to your guests. Ask your dog to sit, and, once they do, allow your guests to give your dog some attention. Treats are a great reward too, but these should be placed onto the ground to encourage your dog to keep their paws where they are.
Once your dog is able to successfully do this with different guests, start practicing this greeting without the leash.
How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up – What NOT to Do
Unfortunately, there’s so much bad training information out there. Many sources will tell you that to stop a dog jumping up, you should be kneeing them in the chest each time they do. The problem is that many dogs often view this as a sign of initiating play. This only hypes them up even more, making it more likely that they’ll continue jumping up. Plus, this method also runs the risk of you injuring your dog, which you definitely don’t want.
If you’re working with a puppy, it’s generally pretty simple to stop a dog jumping up. Adult dogs are a different story, especially if their jumping behavior has been reinforced for years. That said, staying consistent with your training methods will get you there eventually. Remember – prevention is always better than cure. The more that you can prevent your dog from jumping up, the faster you’ll be able to break the habit.