By Nicole Tinkham
We rescued our dog, Sugar (a lab/pit bull mix) about two years ago and couldn’t be happier with our decision. She is absolutely the sweetest dog (hence her name). However, she loves people a little too much sometimes..she’s always jumping up on people giving out hugs and kisses. While this is sweet, not everyone enjoys a muscular pit pull jumping up and sharing their love. We’ve decided it’s time to train our 5 year old puppy to stop doing this (except for the occasions in which we just need a hug, of course). Here’s what we’ve learned about training your dog to not jump on people.
Why they jump
As we greet other people, we naturally shake hands or hug. Dogs do the same thing. They jump up on humans to greet them and gain attention.
What you must do
Teach your dog what they must do to gain your attention without jumping. You must control the situation, eliminating the opportunity for your dog to jump.
- Don’t pet or pay attention to your dog unless their front paws are on the floor. Once their front feet hit the floor, shower them with attention. (This will be hard for me. How can I ignore my puppy when she’s offering hugs?) When your dog jumps up, you’re supposed to stand up straight and look over their head. If the jumping continues, you should turn away. Remember to give them attention when their feet touch the floor by saying “good girl” and load them up with pets and kisses.
- Teach your dog to do something else as a greeting instead of jumping, such as sitting. If they learn to sit when greeting, it’s impossible for them to jump at the same time. Just remember to be consistent. All family members must be committed to whatever you decide to train your dog to do as a greeting. (My dog currently only sits for treats so this would be an additional training step. We may not try this method just yet.)
- Another ignore method: If you walk through the door and your dog starts jumping, ignore them and walk out the door. Re-enter and if your dog continues to jump, repeat the process until they understand that they won’t get your attention by jumping.
- When your dog is about to jump, shield yourself with a cookie sheet. Your dog should be turned off by the scraping of their nails on the cookie sheet and will no longer want to jump. I actually heard this tip on the radio and I think it’s the first method I’ll try.
- The “down” method: When your dog goes to jump, push your open hand downward against their nose and command “down”. Since dog’s noses are very sensitive, they won’t want this action repeated and will eventually learn to not jump.
- Use a leash: Put a collar and leash on your dog. When they want to jump, place your foot on the leash so when your dog does jump they wont get too far off the ground. (This isn’t a bad idea but I can see my dog continuing to try to jump even when not getting too high.)
- Don’t be afraid to ask family members and guests to help out with the training. It may be helpful to add different people to the training process but your dog should be familiar and comfortable with your helpers. Exercise: Have someone come up and greet you and your dog. If your dog goes to jump, have the greeter simply turn and walk away. Have your dog sit, and have the greeter return. Repeat as many times as needed and make sure to give your dog a treat as a reward.
- Guests may enjoy having your dog jump up as a greeting but it’s important to stick with your training plan! Explain this to your guests and they should be willing to go along with your training.
- According to Cesar Millan, when your dog jumps up on you and your guests when walking through the door, your dog thinks they are the pack leader. Your dog is letting you know they are in charge. You can take charge over your dog by doing some of the things mentioned above (not showering them with attention when you walk through the door, correct their jumping habits, and train them to follow your commands). Remember: be the leader ALL the time as not to confuse your dog and cause anxiety.
- Experiment and see what works best with your dog. As you can see, there are many different methods out there for stopping your dog from jumping on people. There’s no need to practice all of these methods, you just have to figure out which one works best for you and your puppy love.