Stop your dog jumping up at people

When your dog jumps up at people to greet them he thinks he is being friendly. Unfortunately many of the people he jumps up at will invariably think your dog is demonstrating bad behaviour which they find annoying, dangerous or even frightening. In fairness it is easy to see how your dogs behaviour, no matter how well intentioned, can be annoying if it results in muddy paw prints or snags and tears to clothing. Similarly, you can understand how your dogs jumping may be considered dangerous or frightening, particularly when the recipient of his attention is a young child or elderly person and your dog is one of the larger breeds.

In order to avoid the potentially embarrassing or confrontational situations which can result from your dogs enthusiasm to greet people it is clearly desirable that he learns not to jump up at them. Instead you need to teach him that sitting is the correct behaviour when greeting people and the earlier you can begin this training the better. Remember, it is far easier to train a young puppy who has been discouraged from jumping up at people from day one than it is to recondition an older dog who has previously been allowed to jump.

As already mentioned your dog will most commonly jump up at people in order to greet them, particularly when they are entering your house. He may however also be inclined to jump up at other times such as when playing or attempting to gain your attention. All such jumping should be discouraged using the same techniques and commands so as not to confuse your dog. Deliver the commands clearly and firmly but never shout at or strike your dog in any way when he jumps. Always praise and reward your dog when he gets it right and resists the temptation to jump. In this way he will soon learn how you expect him to behave.

As you will be spending time with your dog on a daily basis, start your training by teaching him not to jump up at you. To do so, each and every time your dog does jump up at you simply ignore him other than to clearly and firmly issue the OFF command before turning your back on him and walking away. Resist the temptation to greet or give your dog any other form of attention at this stage as the key to success is in keeping him as calm as possible. When you are a few paces away from your dog turn back so that you are facing him and issue the SIT command. Do not approach your dog until he has obeyed your command to sit. Once sitting, walk calmly to your dog and praise and reward him with as little fuss as possible so as not to over excite him and start him jumping again. Repeat the process as often as necessary until your dog understands what is required of him. Also encourage other members of your household to behave in the same way if your dog jumps up at them. A consistent approach will avoid your dog becoming confused and ensure quicker results.

You will also need to teach your dog not to jump up at visitors when they come to your house. The best way to do this is by using a long lead (approximately 10 ft or 3 m long) attached to your dogs collar when you go to answer the door. Before opening it issue your dog with the SIT command and once he is sitting firmly step on the lead to prevent him jumping. Praise and reward him for sitting calmly without exciting him and then with as little fuss as possible open the door and let your visitor in to the house. If your dog does attempt to jump up at your visitor the firm foot you have on his lead should prevent him from doing so. Clearly issue him with the same OFF command you use when training him not to jump up at you. Politely ask your visitor to ignore the dog and to turn their back on him before walking away a few paces. When your dog has returned to a calm sitting position invite your visitor in to the house repeating the process as necessary. Once your visitor has been able to enter with your dog remaining in a sitting position encourage them to praise him without exciting him once again.

As training progresses you should be able to invite visitors into your home without the use of the long lead and instead use only the SIT and OFF commands to control your dog.

As with all dog training a great deal of patience is required and some dogs will of course take longer to train than others. However, by investing time in training your dog not to jump up at people at as early an age as possible you will no doubt reap the rewards of having a well behaved pet for many years to come.