Jumping – What can I Do?
A dog or puppy jumping on you is caused only by their excitement and their desire to receive your attention and affection. A dog is down there and you are up there and they want to say “Hello” to you at face level. Every time we accept a dog jumping on us, we reward their behavior. Consistency is the most important part of training a dog or a child. If you pet me today when I jump, then I will jump next time.
There are a few different techniques to stop jumping, but the most effective method is for everyone in the family must agree that jumping is unacceptable behavior.
The best technique is to ignore. If a dog jumps on you, look up and ignore. Be silent and do not respond in any way until after the dog stops. Petting, yelling and talking only reinforce the behavior to jump on you. After the dog stops wait before you look down and respond to the dog. Vary the amount of time you wait before you respond. It may be best to always ignore your dog when you arrive home until it calms down. Carry a cookie next time you will greet your dog. If it does not jump, give it a cookie and praise it for good behavior.
Not so Dumb
Remember that dogs are not all that dumb. If every time you come home, the dog jumps on you, your ignore it, it stops, you reach down and pet it, you have just taught your dog a new trick. Reinforce good behavior, ignore bad behavior.
Kneeing the dog, holding its paws and declaring “Off” are other techniques.
“Kneeing” is a technique of raising your knee, just as you see your dog approach with a jump. It is not meant to be violent or to hurt, just to rebound the dog. Caution should be used with this technique; your timing must be perfect and you risk possible injury to yourself and your dog. It is also difficult to knee a dog when sitting.
“Holding the paws” is a technique of allowing the dog to jump, grasping their paws and holding on. This is combined with lots of enthusiastic and pleasant talk to your dog. Dogs do not like their paws being held and will begin to struggle. The technique is taught that you keep holding on until the dog becomes very unhappy with the exercise. The goal is to convince the dog that jumping is an uncomfortable event. The disadvantage is that you must do this every time your dog jumps on you and this is not always easy when carrying the groceries. Caution should be used with technique; I have seen a professional trainer get bitten very badly by a friendly puppy.
Giving the command “Off” works only as a reminder to a dog that understands the behavior is not acceptable. “Off” means put all four feet on the ground and works better than the command “No”. Do not yell, scream; just say “Off” and ignore. Dogs hear you; they are capable of selective hearing like some people.