Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to Stop Your Best Friend From Jumping

Special thanks to Dr. Eloise Bright for writing and sharing today's post. 

If you have a problem jumper in your family there are a number of easy solutions to help. Often the enthusiastic leaping starts when your dog is young and is simply repeated because it gets attention in some form. Just as it easily began, you can also easily stop the behaviour before a small person is bowled over in all the excitement.

The first step is to determine why your dog jumps up. If your dog is naturally very hyperactive and joyful about life, sometimes practicing some calm behaviour can help them to settle down a little. Ignore any behaviour you don't like, but make sure you reward your furry friend when he is behaving. If your dog jumps up on your guests, ask some friends to help and work on training an alternate behaviour for your dog.

How to stop your dog from jumping
Photo via Grace 

Why Does Your Dog Jump Up?

It is natural for a dog to want to jump up and get as close to your face as possible.  A cute little puppy jumping is fine, so we often allow this, but then start to regret it as they become bigger. The puppy has established a pattern of behaviour and there are many things that just don’t work in stopping the acrobatics. Chances are you push him off or perhaps say 'no' or 'bah'. Your dog is getting exactly what he wants, which is eye contact, voice contact and physical contact. Most of the time dogs simply do not understand the word ‘no’ and your actions (touch and eye contact) mean yes, rather than no in doggy language.

Practice Calm Behavior

A naturally hyperactive and enthusiastic dog can be an absolute pleasure. But like active children, boisterous play is best done in the outside world, not around the fine china. Reward your dog with treats and attention when he is being calm inside. Teach him to go to his bed and reward him for staying there. This training really needs to be combined with an outlet, so your dog can expend lots of energy on walks and with outside play. Don’t expect him to be calm at home if he is bored and has energy to burn.

Downplay Arrivals and Departures

When leaving or entering the house, don’t make a big deal over it. If you leave your dog alone, just leave, don’t make a fuss. By the same token, when you come home don’t react to your dog’s enthusiasm by getting him more excited. Don’t worry, your dog will still be excited to see you, whether you have been gone for 1 minute or all day, it is in their nature. Making a big fuss teaches your dog that you want excitement and can be part of the reason why your dog is leaping all over the place. For some articles and videos on basic training such as ‘go to bed’ and ‘stay’ follow the links at the end of the article.

How to Stop Jumping on Your Family 

The best way to stop your dog jumping up on you is to be consistent in ignoring the behaviour. When your dog jumps up, turn your back and look away. Do not say anything. If your dog keeps jumping, keep turning away. You may need to cross your arms over your chest and look up, particularly if your dog is very persistent or tries mouthing at your hands. As soon as all four paws are on the ground go down to his level and tell him he is a good boy. As soon as he springs up again, turn your back. Your dog needs to learn that as soon as all four paws are on the floor, you give attention.

Be aware that whenever you try to stop behaviour, things often get worse before they get better, this is perfectly normal. Just be consistent and get everyone in the house to do the same. Bear in mind your dog has been jumping up for quite a while and it will take a little time before he works out another way to greet you.

Training your dog not to jump on people
Photo via tentwo.teneight

By removing the reward (eye contact, touch and voice contact) until the undesirable behaviour stops you are making it less likely for it to occur. If you then combine this with positive reinforcement (praise for staying on the ground), you make this good behaviour more likely to occur.

Jumping on Guests

If your dog is prone to inappropriately leaping all over your 90 year old nanna ask them to also ignore your dog. When you hear the door, place your dog on a lead and use a treat to get him to sit. Keep asking him to sit and keep rewarding the calm behaviour. Ask your guest to only pat your dog while he is in the sit position.

You can also ask some able bodied friends to practice with your dog. Ask them to do the sequence above by turning away and ignoring the behaviour. Again, as soon as your dog has his front paws on the ground, you need to go down to his level and reward him with praise.

Training Alternate Behavior

For full well-behaved-dog points, teach your dog to sit on command and perhaps to shake. Do this at a time when there are no distractions and for only 5-10 minutes a day.

When you have successfully ignored the jumping behaviour and it has started to subside, ask your dog to sit and shake hands and reward him for this. More instructions on teaching ‘shake’ in ‘Useful Links’.

If you have a very exuberant dog who you know will be unlikely to sit quietly when people come to visit, one option is to give them a toy special squeaky chew toy that sits by the door. When they are excited and need to do something to release all that pent-up enthusiasm, give them the toy to shake and chew. The key is to find an alternate behaviour that is a bit more socially acceptable than leaping all over everyone.

Another option for dogs who can’t settle, is to teach them to go to their bed and give them a chew like a Greenie or a Pigs Ear to chew on while guests are visiting. Particularly useful for dogs who like to greet the electrician and chase him around while he is trying to work. Not only does this teach your dog a positive association with tradies coming to the house, but it also teaches him to stay in his spot and distracts him.

It is always easier to train your dog to do something, than to train him NOT to do something. Often behaviour like jumping up has been unintentionally reinforced. In the same way that your dog learnt that to sit gets him praise and perhaps a treat, when he jumps up you look at him and touch him.  He then continues to repeat the same old pattern to get that attention. Training an alternate behaviour will take a little time and persistence, but is worth it in the end.



Dr Eloise Bright is a resident pet care expert and vet at Love That Pet. When not working to keep her furry, feathery and leathery patients in tip top shape, Eloise enjoys spending time with her family and pets.

22 comments:

  1. For us the most effective technique has always been to teach alternate behaviors. Dogs who get tons of praise, attention and treats sitting will sit instead of jump. Thanks for this excellent advice post... you should add it to our positive training blog hop!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this post , it is great for us

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good points. We jump on certain people, but it is hard to train it out of us as Mom likes us to jump up and give her a hug when she comes home. It is something we are always working on when new people arrive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shiner doesn't really do it to me, her dad or the kids. But she does it to my mom a lot. And my mom is sick right now and doesn't need dog scratches on her =/ And Shiner can give a pretty mean scratch sometimes! On accident of course.

      Delete
  4. That is great. Luckily I am not a jumper but we think CN is right alternative behaviours are a good start. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great info and great tips!!!!
    Some people when they come to visit my house dont like the fact that Lexus jumps on them....it is had though, because I always call her up on me....like I mean, to jump up....thats how i like to say help to her, but company doesnt so much agree! So its hard to teach her not to jump on other people but it is ok to jump on me...
    ((husky hugz))
    "love is being owned by a husky"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see how that might be a little confusing for her. I also don't mind so much myself, but some people don't like it. Shiner does it when she wants to play and she plays a little rough!

      Delete
  6. great common sense post Ann,xx Rachel

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great guest post! Gracie is good about not jumping, she just gets the zoomies when excited by household visitors, but that is fun to watch! And the last poodle/yorkie mix we had before Gracie would jump when excited, not on people just straight up and down like she had springs in her legs. It was pretty amazing, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds so cute! I bet it's hilarious to watch. You should get it on camera!

      Delete
  8. Teaching Maya not to jump on me was very easy. Teaching her not to jump on people she meets, not so easy. After six years, we are still working on it. It is difficult to be consistent with meeting strangers. If I have someone help me, Maya eventually learns not to jump on that particular person. But it is like I have to re-teach her every time we meed someone new. I could be consistent by taking her places where she meets someone new every day, but I admit I keep making excuses not to do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's hard to do that I'm sure. At least you guys are taking it step by step and trying.

      Delete
  9. That was interesting, but jumping might be more fun!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Puppies are so cute, we can see where it might be tempting to teach them bad habits, then regret it when they are older. So we guess its best to think of the future, and unconsciencely training pets to do things.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Now I just need to get my dog to stop barking and I will be sorted! Thanks for this post :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great advice and we use many of the techniques! I get very excited when mom comes home, but she sits down and ignores me with her arms crossed. I know that is the signal to sit and be still. Then she pets me! Love Dolly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome Dolly! Shiner makes the funniest smile when I come home from places. She doesn't really jump up on me but I do ignore her a little bit and then say hi when she's calmer.

      Delete
  13. Awesome article! Not much worse than a jumping dog. It's so ... random and unexpected. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very helpful post. So many people don't realize that they're inadvertently reinforcing jumping behavior.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great tips... for jumpers :D Pawkiss :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...