Get Your Dog’s Feet to Stay on the Floor
© 2007 Phoenix Behavior Consulting
When your five-pound puppy jumps on you, you may think it’s cute. When it grows into a 50-pound (or 100-pound!) puppy, you and your family and friends probably won’t think it’s so cute any more. And jumping is such an easy behavior to get rid of.
Of course, it will take patience and consistency on your part. It will also take patience and consistency from your family and guests as well. This is very important. Your dog may learn not to jump on you, but you should teach it not to jump on anyone.
Basically, there are two steps to improving and getting rid of jumping on people: (1) Stop rewarding the behavior. (2) Teach your dog what you want it to do instead.
Step #1: Remove the reward of the behavior. Puppies and dogs love to jump on us because this is the same behavior they learned from their mother and litter mates. They just want to say hello to us and have a wonderful time with us. We can’t bark to our dog, “No! Down! Off! Stop! Quit!” We can’t push it away with our hands or knee it in the chest. Why? Because these actions are all rewards for the very behavior we’re trying to get rid of. That’s why the jumping continues despite our attempts to eliminate it. So we have to turn around and walk away from our jumping dog. Or turn around and completely ignore our dog for a few seconds. Each and every time! This removes ourselves as the behavior’s reward.
Then remember, there’s step #2: Teach your dog what you what it to do instead of jumping up on you. How about Sit? A dog that is sitting nicely is not jumping on people. So, after turning around and ignoring your jumping dog for a few seconds, turn back around and put it into a Sit. When it sits nicely, then reward it profusely. Give it a food treat, toy, or lots of praise. Be sure you wait a few seconds after your dog jumps, before telling your dog to sit. By waiting a few seconds, your dog doesn’t learn to jump and then sit.