Down! Your Guide to Working with a Jumping Dog

Carrie Pallardy
 
If you spend any time around dogs, you are probably familiar with the enthusiastic greeting that many canine companions love to give. Jumping up and frantically licking any part of you within reach is not uncommon dog behavior. While people who love dogs are probably fine with fending off jumping, this is not a desirable behavior. If your dog can jump on you in greeting, she will think it is an acceptable behavior with anyone. How can you correct this behavior in your dog?
 

Do Not Reward the Behavior

 
 
Dogs will continue to behave in patterns that earn them rewards. While we might think of treats as the biggest reward, many dogs are motivated by attention. If jumping earns them attention, they will continue to jump on you and other people.
 
The first step to teaching your dog not to jump is changing how you respond to that behavior. Instead of responding to your dog’s enthusiastic, and vertical, greeting, disengage. Do not attempt to push your dog down. Oftentimes, your dog will mistake this action as an invitation to play. Turn your back and wait for your dog to calm down before you turn to offer a greeting and physical affection.
 

Change the Behavior

 
Behavior patterns, like jumping, take time to rewrite. Your dog will need to learn a new, acceptable way of greeting you and other people. Some owners want their dog to sit, while others are primarily concerned with keeping all four paws firmly planted on the floor.
 
Start your training efforts by putting your dog on a leash for social interactions with people. The leash will help keep your dog focused on you and help to keep him restrained. When you approach someone, put a few treats on the floor in front of the person. As your dog is enjoying the treats, you and the other person can bend down to praise the dog and greet them with some pets.
 
Over time, your dog will learn to associate four paws on the floor with a positive reaction from the people she encounters.
 

Remain Consistent

 
Consistency is essential in all aspects of training your dog. It can be easy to slip into old patterns, but each time you allow your dog to jump, you will take a step away from your goal. Maintain your use of treats to reward positive behavior, and do not reward jumping with treats or attention.
 
You can also work a command into your training. If your dog knows how to sit, use that command before you greet your dog or before he interacts with another person.
 
Like any part of training, it will take time for your dog to learn how you want her to greet people. Be patient and realize that dogs may become frustrated during the process. If your dog continues to jump in greeting, even if you have turned your back, take a break and shift the focus. Use a command your dog already knows and reward that behavior.
 
Remember, everyone who interacts with your dog has a role to play in reinforcing positive behavior. If you have family members who interact with the dog at home, get everyone on the same page. When friends and family come to visit, continue to enforce the positive behavior. Eventually, your dog will understand that jumping does not result in a reward.
 
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