Does your dog jump up at you? At other people?

  • Jumping up is a great way for a dog to get your attention.
  • Some dogs will jump from sheer excitement. Excitement produces physical energy and this energy has to go somewhere.
  • Some dogs will jump because they feel uneasy when someone comes into the house. Jumping up is the controlling / coping mechanism that allows the dog to deal with the new intrusion.

Dogs do what works for them.

If a dog jumps up a laugh and hug may greet them or they may be shouted at and pushed away. In the dog’s mind the strategy has been successful on both counts – they have received the attention they craved.

So how to you stop it?

  • First you need to prevent him from continuing to practice the behaviour – every time he jumps up the behaviour is reinforced.
  • Be consistent. Don’t allow the dog to jump up on you when greeting and expect him not to jump up on guests when they come into the house.
  • If your dog jumps up at visitors from excitement or because he is worried, put him in another room behind a baby gate with a toy or food toy such as a Kong to keep him occupied. Don’t allow him to greet people until they are sitting down and he is calm.
  • An effective way to stop dogs from jumping up is to ignore them while they are jumping. Each time the dog jumps up at you – turn your back. Don’t look, talk or touch your dog. Fold your arms and be boring. When he stops jumping, mark with a good or clicker, wait for four seconds of four paws on the floor then calmly give him some attention. Repeat.
  • Sometimes the dog jumps harder and higher to get your attention. This is known as an extinction burst. What has worked before is no longer getting attention so the dog tries harder. Be persistent because eventually he will give up!
  • Teach your dog to go to his bed or mat when guests arrive and to stay there until invited to come and say hello.

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