You see a puppy. You squeal with glee and excitement and have a complete cuteness meltdown. And what do you do — reach down and pick him up for a big hug and kissey face. Confess — you do it. I do.
Fast forward a few weeks, puppy matures a little, nails get sharp, he gets bigger and he still thinks jumping up on you is fun and will get him a boat load of affection.
It at least gets you to continue squealing “stop it”, flail your hands around, dance your feet around and otherwise add excitement and energy to his jumping. He doesn’t know you don’t want him to do it anymore.
So how do you stop this unwanted behavior? Easy!
(It’s really easy with young puppies who have not had long to really create this bad habit)
The command will be OFF! Don’t use words like Down. Down has another very specific meaning and you don’t want to create a confusion. Clarity matters!
- Puppy jumps up onto you
- You place your hands on his shoulders with gentle pressure, push him back, saying “OFF”
- With 4 on the floor, ask him to sit. (Mark that behavior “good”)
- While seated, bend to pet him. If he pops up, remind him to sit, even if you have to repeat the “OFF” process.
The point is: the puppy can’t jump and sit at the same time. If he learns that the only time he earns attention from you is when he sits, he will actually start to approach you and sit on his own.
- Puppy jumps up onto guests arriving at your house
- Leash him up when you know guests are arriving. If they surprise you, grab a slip lead and loop him up.
- Remember, he can’t sit and jump at the same time.
- So ask him to sit as your guest enters, when he’s calm (not a wiggle butt), invite him to “say hi” to your guest.
- If he jumps up, you pop the leash back away from your guest with a firm verbal “OFF” and ask him calmly to sit. Wait again until he’s calm and try again.
- Ask your guest during this exercise to no speak to the dog — don’t add any excitement. And if he jumps, to stand up straight and remove their hands from the equation.
- End this exercise by calling your dog to “come” back to you and “sit” again.
Other Approaches for more mature (> 4 months old)
- Some dogs are far more difficult to work with on this problem, especially more mature dogs
- You may need to look into a more moderate corrective approach, like a Pet Convincer (R) — can’t air. Which you use from a stealthy advantage…. dog jump, you spritz and he is caught off guard that his feet cause cold air to spray across his body. (never spray at their face — it’s high pressured air)
- More challenging dogs need even more corrective action, and this is where we might guide you to proper use of a prong or ecollar. Please use these tools only with education and guidance from a professional.
I’d much rather correct a dog once or twice for jumping on humans than to risk knocking over a child or grandma, or having a family get so frustrated that they opt to rehome the dog — or worse. (And believe me it happens everyday)
(This article is targeted at young puppy training. 8 weeks to approximately 20 months. It might work for some older pups, but in many cases you may need a different approach. Especially for dogs with aggressive tendencies. If so, seek professional guidance — it can often be resolved with a single consultation.)