Jumping on people is a common habit among dogs. It can even be endearing at times. After all, your dog is expressing excitement at seeing you. The greeting is full of exuberance and delight. Unfortunately, this behavior can cause injuries, knock down the unsuspecting or frail, and is simply a sign of bad manners in a canine. Dirty paws can soil clothes, children and seniors can fall with the force of the greeting, and if you are trying to hang onto anything, the task becomes difficult. Fortunately, this behavior can be corrected with consistent training. Teach your dog to stop jumping with patience and plenty of treats.
Reasons Why Dogs Greet with a Jump
One of the pillars of dog training is the fact that dogs repeat those behaviors that net them rewards of some sort. Remember dog crate training? Attention is among the most rewarding prizes your dog can receive. Even reactions that are negative are attention, capable of reinforcing the undesired behavior. For a great many dogs, being pushed away is simply playing a game of wrestling. There is an assortment of reasons dogs greet you, your visitors, and strangers by jumping.
Dogs Get Excited
Your dog is a highly emotional creature. If the pup lacks the appropriate training, this oversight leaves it without the knowledge of how to give vent properly and politely to those emotions. A very common reason for jumping is simple excitement at the sight of your return. Jumping during playtime is common because of sheer fun. Jumping for joy is one of the few ways your dog knows how to display the degree of its excitement to you. Dogs must rely heavily upon body language as they lack the finesse of vocal expression that humans possess. This body language, unfortunately, can be disruptive. This is why training is so vital.
Seeking Face Licks
A second common reason for jumping behaviors is that your dog wants to give your face a lick. Dog kissing or licking is an ancestral trait, part of a long-developed habit of canine socialization. Mother dogs lick their puppies to groom them, wolf cubs lick their mother’s mouths after eating to tidy up any remnants, and lower-ranking dogs in packs lick higher-ranking dog’s faces as a mark of submission. If you try to give your dog’s face a smooch and it turns away, this is because you are a higher-ranking pack member. This action goes contrary to your dog’s instincts and makes it uncomfortable.
Attention Seeking Behavior
Dogs also jump to seek attention. Because dogs are such social animals, they hate feeling ignored. By jumping up, your dog makes itself bigger and figures more prominently in your attention. Dogs may specifically seek attention because they need something like food or a walk. If you stay on top of your dog’s needs, you may help to avoid this behavior if this is your dog’s main cause of jumping.
Unfortunately, many people find it cute when puppies jump up to greet them. By reacting positively, they reinforce the behavior of jumping. You may accidentally encourage jumping if you speak to your dog and pet it when being jumped on. Even older dogs can receive reinforcement in this way. Any attention, to your dog, is good attention. Be careful of your responses to unwanted behaviors. Instead, teach your dog not to jump with positivity and treats.
Stress or Dearth of Confidence
Jumping does not solely express joy. It can also reveal that your dog is stressed. One circumstance is the arrival of a stranger. If the stranger’s presence stresses out your dog, your anxious pup can develop an out-of-control feeling. If this is the case, the dog’s reaction may be to run around and jump on the visitor. In this example, your dog is not expressing happiness by jumping. Instead, the dog is seeking a feeling of control in stressful and uncertain circumstances. Stop your dog from jumping on people by proper training and thereby building its confidence.
Responding to Jumping
Your response to your dog jumping is particularly important. The core aspect is action and consequence. If jumping occurs when you and your dog are enjoying some playtime with a toy, do not continue playing. Rather, drop the toy, walking away. If your dog jumps as you ready its meal, do not push them away from you. Instead, leave the food, walking away completely. Ensure the jumping dog cannot reach the food when you do so. If the habit of jumping takes place when you return home, do not enter the house right away. Rather, linger outside for a brief moment while your dog returns to a calm state. In each of these situations, your dog desires something. This could be food, play with a toy, or your attention. These are motivating factors for jumping. If you wish to change this behavior, you must make your dog understand that jumping does not gain them their desire. In fact, it makes their goal further away. When your dog tries a different technique, such as sitting instead of jumping, offer lavish rewards.
Do Not Ignore Undesired Behaviors
As established, remove rewards for undesired actions. Ignoring them may accidentally be interpreted by your dog as a reward. What some people do not realize is that a dog does not perceive simple ignoring as an action of removing attention. Hands still dangle like toys to tug and they walk about, appearing interactive to a dog’s point of view. This interactivity is a reward to a dog. What you should realize is that removal of the desired action or object is vital. Do so within half a second in a means that is clear to your dog that the desired thing is removed. Training a dog not to jump may involve standing completely upright with both arms folded against the body, holding stationary and remaining silent.
Altering Natural Impulses
Because jumping is a natural impulse, changing the behavior is not a process that will take place overnight. One frustrating aspect is that many dogs display an extinction burst. This is the name for a worsening in behavior before you see improvement. It’s a dog’s final, fullest attempt to perform the natural behavior in an effort to achieve its desires. Stick to your strategy and be consistent and you will see lasting change, however.
First Train Desired Behaviors
A dog that first learns the correct behavior has a much easier time figuring out what actions net it rewards and what actions distance it from those rewards. The correct behavior for greeting is typically a polite sit. Try training sessions of five to ten minutes. In this time frame, your dog should earn ten to fifty rewards that are small and easy to chew. Teach your dog that sitting is a way to say please. This foundation exercise is essential for working on behavior that is focused and calm.
Use a Flash Lure
Sometimes a dog starts to get the idea but becomes confused and jumps first, then sitting afterward. If this happens to you, change your strategy on how to train a dog not to jump immediately. A flash lure refers to flashing a treat at nose level at the right time to prevent unwanted behavior.
Because attention is so important to dogs, withholding it is a clear indicator that their behavior is unacceptable. One way to do this is to turn your back as soon as the unwanted behavior, jumping up, occurs. Fold your arms across your chest and make no noise. If your dog tries circling around to jump again, turn your body the other way and wait for the behavior to cease. You can also remove your presence completely. If you walk through the door and your dog jumps, simply turn and head outside again. If your dog jumps inside, leave the room.
Reinforce Good Behavior with Rewards
When working on jumping correction, it helps to keep a constant supply of treats on hand. The moment your dog stands before you with four paws solidly on the ground, reward with a treat. Offer praise, but do not work the canine up with excitement.
Practice with Volunteers
Practicing solo will not suffice to curb your pup from all jumping behaviors. Friends and family should also be involved so that your dog does not think that other people are fair game for jumping. When other people assist in the training, your dog realizes that it needs to keep all four paws on the floor regardless of who enters the house or the room.
Teach Your Dog to Keep Four Paws on the Floor
This action can be encouraged by placing treats down on the floor when your dog greets someone. The notion is that you can prevent your dog from considering jumping with a quick reward before they think of leaving the ground. You can start with your dog on a leash. Have someone approach and, before they reach your dog, toss down several treats. Have the person greet them and pet the dog while it eats. Then the person should retreat before your pup has finished eating. Repeat this several times. Then extend the greeting, continuing to toss treats down. Eventually, let your dog greet the person before placing the initial treat down. When your dog has an understanding of the rules, fewer treats can be used. At last, the greeting should suffice as the sole reward.
Training Your Dog to Sit to Greet
You can also train your dog to sit for greetings. Tie your dog to an item of furniture or a doorknob. While you are several feet away, give your dog the command to sit. Calmly approach once the dog has done so. If your dog stands, turn and return to your original position, again commanding the dog to sit. Once the dog remains sitting, offer subdued praise and reward with petting. As soon as the dog stands, remove your attention and walk away. Approaches can grow more exciting as your dog starts to get the picture. When your dog has achieved mastery with you, try the exercise with family members and friends.
Keep Your Dog From Jumping During Training
When teaching appropriate greetings, you need to control your dog’s behavior so there is no opportunity to jump. If your dog has a kennel or mat and knows the command to go to its place, give that command whenever your doorbell rings. Having your pup leashed for the arrival of guests is also helpful.
Actions to Avoid
Some trainers encourage the use of punishment. Kneeing a dog’s chest or yanking on a leash are two such aversive actions. These methods are problematic in several ways. You can cause your dog injury if you do it improperly or too harshly. You may indicate to the dog that you are trying to play, encouraging it to jump again in response. Finally, your dog may only think that jumping is inappropriate when it is leashed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my dog to stop jumping on people?
Train your dog to keep four paws on the floor or to sit when greeting people. Use plenty of positive reinforcement but remain calm so as not to excite your dog and risk enticing it to jump more. Keep a supply of treats on hand to encourage your dog to display good manners.
How do you stop a dog from jumping and biting on you?
If a dog jumps on you and seeks to bite you, this would be an appropriate time to use the knee-to-the-chest method. Be firm enough to remove the dog’s presence without being so severe as to do harm.
What does it mean when a dog jumps up?
A dog jumps up to greet you out of excitement, stress, to show submission by licking your face or to garner attention.