Many of us might have wondered at some point on how to train our dog not to jump. Before we get on with the hows, let us first understand the whys.
Why do Dogs Jump on You?
It is said that it is normal dog behavior for dogs to jump. Most dogs, on instinct, will jump on people, unless they are trained to do otherwise.
There are several reasons presented by theorists on why dogs jump. Here are some of these reasons:
A welcome gesture and a sign of affection
Coming home after work or after going out, you are welcomed by your dog. Most dogs jump on people to greet them. It is their way of saying hello. Your dog is just overly excited that you are home and your dog cannot manage this over-excitement. Your dog expressly shows this by jumping on you.
Dogs also jump up on people to try to reach and lick their faces as a sign of affection. Since people are way taller than dogs, the dogs would have to jump up to show this affection. The dogs want to show us that they need attention and want to spend some bonding time with us.
A sign that they are asking for food
During their puppy days, dogs are excited about seeing their moms bringing food. In order to ask their mom to give them food, they jump up to try to reach their mom’s face as a sign that they want food.
Eventually, this behavior is adopted by the puppies as they grow older. It has become a natural reaction for them. When they see us bringing food, they usually jump on us. It is their way of communicating that we ought to put food on their plates now.
To show control
Some dogs jump on other people when they are stressed or when they lack confidence in the presence of unfamiliar faces. This jumping behavior is resorted to by dogs to show that they are the “boss”. It is their way of showing that they are the ones in control.
To spend off their energy
For some dog breeds, they jump up and down to show that they want to go outdoors as they need to spend off their pent-up energy. It is a signal for you to bring them outside to do their exercises.
A dog kept indoor or inside a dog crate or on a leash for too long gets bored and becomes restless. The feeling of necessity to go outside is overwhelming and they jump to tell you that it is time. Just like humans, they need to spend some time outdoors.
Dogs jump on other people to attack. The dogs tell people to keep off and to stay away. It might also be an instant reaction of a dog when he is being attacked or threatened.
But dogs jumping on other people to attack for no reason at all is really dangerous. It can cause you a lot of trouble. Other people will get scared. They might be bitten or injured by your dog.
It can result in strained relations within the neighborhood and other people would feel frightened upon seeing your dog. Eventually, your dog might feel like an outcast from the society which could also develop into other behavioral problems.
Why Stop your Dog from Jumping?
This jumping behavior of dogs are sometimes seen as annoying for some people. Imagine yourself dressed up about to go to the office or to a party and your dog suddenly jumps on you. Your suit or dress gets torn or dirty. It can be quite frustrating and irritating.
A dog who always jumps might actually be dangerous for people who easily lose balance and are not steady on their feet. It can cause children to topple down and may result in injuries. Elderly and frail individuals might fall down and cause damage to their bodies.
Behavior Management – How to Train Dogs not to Jump
Now that we know why dogs jump, we can learn how to train dogs not to jump and how to manage this jumping behavior.
So, how do I train my dog not to jump on visitors? You can train your dog not to jump when you get home or when visitors arrive at your doorstep by telling him to “sit” or “stay” once he started jumping. Once he obeys, pay him some attention and give him a reward or a treat.
If he is not trained to “sit” and “stay”, once he started to jump, you can totally disregard him and pay him no attention. It is also suggested that once your dog starts jumping on you, go out of the door and try to re-enter again. Continue doing this until your dog realizes that you do not want to be jumped upon when you enter the door.
You can also try to put him on a leash or a crate. Once you enter the door, they will try to jump up on you but will not be able to reach you. Wait until they settle down or have stopped jumping before giving them attention.
The General Rule
Every time your dog jumps, whether to greet you, ask for food, establish control, or due to some pent-up energy, do not give them attention. Giving the slightest attention would be seen as a reward for jumping. And your dog will keep jumping to gain that attention.
Also, do not try to push your dog away. It will cause you to touch him. Touching him in any way might be perceived by your dog as a positive reinforcement. As such, he will be encouraged to do the same next time.
It is also advisable to teach dogs the basics like to “sit” and “stay”. It is important that your dog understands when to “sit” and “stay” as it will help you on how to train your dog not to jump. Once your dog abides to “sit” or “stay”, you can easily train him not to jump.
Finally, do not talk to your dog while he is jumping. Conversing with your dog while he is still jumping (except when it is to give them commands like “sit” or “stay”) will also be taken by them as a reward. They would think that they are being rewarded with attention for jumping.
The Four On The Floor Rule
There is a basic rule on dog training to help counter this behavior — the Four on the Floor Rule.
This rule requires a dog to remain with all four paws on the floor. Train your dog to keep all paws on the floor. Every time he removes a paw from the floor, do not pay him attention and totally disregard him. And each time he has all paws on the floor, encourage this behavior by giving him a treat or a pat as a reward as part of his positive reinforcement training.
Some Things to Remember
To train dogs not to jump might be a hard task for anybody. But consistency and patience are the keys.
Be consistent. Never divert from your training method. Always remember to reward your dog with positive reinforcement every time he obeys you.
Be patient. As an old saying goes, “you cannot teach old dogs new tricks”. So, start training your dog not to jump while he is young and continue with the training until he learns of his “new trick”.