How to stop dogs from jumping up

Apricot Poochon puppy

When dogs meet each other they will often sniff each others faces as a way of saying hello and since our faces are much higher than our dogs they will often jump up to meet us nose-to-nose. As puppies we often allow this behaviour to go on, especially in small breeds such as Poochons, and even encourage it as the puppy gets older. We may not realise it, but when we give our dogs attention when they jump up on us we are reinforcing the bad behaviour by telling the dog with our actions “when you jump up on me I’ll give in and give you the attention that you want”. Dogs are similar to children, in that they are quick to learn how to get what they want the easiest and fastest way possible. Many people find comfort and a sense of love and importance when their dog is so happy to see them that they race over and greet them at the door.

Do I need to stop my dog from jumping up on people?

Some owners of small dogs don’t seem to mind if their dog jumps up on people to greet them as they believe their dog is too small to hurt anyone but even small dogs can knock frail people or children over and some visitors simply don’t like dogs jumping all over them. The larger the dog, the greater need there is for them to keep all 4 paws on the floor when greeting people as the potential for injury increases with the size and exuberance of the dog.

How do I prevent my dog from jumping up on people?

Preventing your dog from developing this annoying behaviour as early as possible is the best course of action and that can start from the day you bring the fuzzy little guy or girl home. Teach them that they will be ignored when they jump up on you by crossing your arms and turning away from them when they jump up on you. This will make your puppy have to get back to being on all four paws to move around to the front of you to get your attention. As soon as she has her paws on the floor give her a gentle pat and use a reward word such as ‘good girl’. Don’t punish your puppy for jumping up on you by making her wait even longer after she has her feet on the ground or she will miss the point of why you are withholding attention. Always wait until all paws are on the ground before playing with your puppy and lavishing attention on them. This technique can also be used on older dogs that have already developed the habit of jumping up, but you will need to be consistent to break them out of their usual behaviour.
Teaching your puppy to sit is important to stop this behaviour so that once they know how to sit, they can then begin to understand that sitting in front of you is how they will receive what they want from you. The trick to this is to make your dog sit before they get anything they want such as a treat, attention, walks, toys etc. If you consistently reinforce this behaviour of sitting before a reward, they will quickly realise that they can get what they want by sitting rather than by jumping up on people.
If your dog jumps up on you the instant you walk in the door, ie before you have a chance to correct the behaviour, open the door just a touch and command your dog to sit before entering and reward the dog while she is sitting. After a little while you should find that your dog is sitting when you enter the house rather than jumping up on you. If your dog jumps up on other people even after learning not to do it to you, get the other people to repeat the same exercise that you followed.

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