How to Reduce Jumping – Puppy Training Treasure Coast

One of the most common complaints from pet parents is that their dog jumps up on people. It may include jumping on the pet parents, kids in the home, or on guests that visit. This behavior is annoying, but it can also be dangerous if your dog knocks someone over or accidentally scratches Grandma with those toenails.

Now, you may not like what I’m going to write next…
You and the people around you have likely trained the behavior of jumping up on people. Yes, that’s right, you have accidentally trained your dog to perform this behavior. But don’t worry, this is a common occurrence, and you can improve things!

I often see puppy owners touch and love their cute little puppy when it jumps upon them. Then suddenly, it’s no longer pleasant when their rowdy 40-pound teenage dog puts their paws up for affection. Ouch! Those nails!!

But wait! You adopted your dog as an adult, and they came to you as a jumping bean; there’s no way you contributed to this behavior!

Okay, but how did you respond the first few times your dog jumped on you? Did you make eye contact and say “get down”? Or did you touch them and give them attention because you were so in love? Maybe you even let them put their front paws on your lap while you pet them on the couch sometimes at night?

It may surprise you to learn that any touching, eye contact, attention, or even scolding can be enough to reward this behavior. And suppose you do so intermittently, meaning sometimes you give attention when they jump and sometimes you get annoyed. In that case, the behavior will become even more persistent.

Google “intermittent reinforcement schedules” if you want to learn more about that concept.

Bear in mind that jumping up is somewhat natural for a dog because they want to get closer to your face to greet you and show affection. You can rest easy they aren’t just trying to annoy you.

How to Reduce Jumping - Puppy Training Treasure Coast Puppy Training Foundations

How to Reduce Jumping

However, we can do a couple of things to reduce the jumping or at least reduce the intensity when it happens:

  • Implement a “4-on-the-floor” rule. It means that your dog only receives attention, petting, doors opening, etc. when they have all 4 feet on the floor. Make sure your whole family is on board and tell your guests when they arrive.
  • If your dog jumps up on you, immediately turn away, so they get off of you. Turn back towards them and ask for a sit once they have 4-on-the-floor. Once they sit, you may address them. Begin to anticipate when your dog is about to jump and step out of the way right before they touch you with those paws!
  • When greeting a familiar friendly dog, bend at the waist and turn slightly sideways so you can pet them with both hands hanging down lower (about level with their back). Just be careful that they don’t accidentally clock you in the jaw with their head when in this position. Sometimes I will gently hold their collar with two fingers to make sure they can’t suddenly jump up and surprise me. Bonus points if you have a treat in your hand that they can nibble on while keeping 4-on-the-floor.
  • Keep a leash on your dog so you can step on it if needed to reduce your dog’s ability to continue jumping up on you or others. Once they stop, ask for a sit and release the leash. If they are really worked up, you may need to take the leash and direct them to another activity or their crate for a nap.

Practice teaching your dog to relax and stay on a mat so you can use this skill when guests enter your home.

It is not an exhaustive list, but these tips should get you started to reduce this annoying behavior. Remember, this behavior didn’t just appear overnight, so it will take time to diminish.

The dog always tells! After changing your response to this behavior, you may notice over time that your dog doesn’t jump on you as often but still jumps on someone else in your household often. It can be a signal that something that person is doing is still rewarding the behavior. Put on your detective hat to figure it out.

Puppy Training Treasure Coast – Happy Dogs Start with Puppy Training

You’re probably excited to get your puppy out, mingle with other dogs, and learn new things. The puppy stage is one of the most important times in a dog’s life. It’s a time when they’re learning about the world and how to interact with other dogs and people.

Puppy training classes are often a popular choice to begin puppy training, especially if you want a well-socialized dog.

Imagine trying to teach a kid algebra in the middle of a buzzing playground full of kids running wild and having fun together. Better to start learning new skills and building confidence somewhere a little quieter and more favorable for learning, right?

We teach your puppy some foundation skills BEFORE they’re ready to step into puppy class.

All training starts with teaching new behaviors & skills in a low distraction environment.

We gradually increase the difficulty of training.

Start puppy training today so that you can take your adult dog everywhere. Simply book your FREE Consult at a time to suit you.