Do you ever dread going to visit the neighbours because of their dog that always jumps up leaving muddy paw prints on your white trousers, or avoid play dates with your toddler’s best friend because their dog keeps on bowling him over? Now consider if people were to feel the same way about visiting your house.
We often tend to tolerate jumping – because they’re our beloved pets and they are excited to see us – but what about your guests, your children’s safety or when you’re all dressed up for a night on the town? Jumping up is not so welcomed then!
Why do dogs jump?
It is a dog’s natural instinct to greet each other by licking the muzzle (ie the nose/face). Considering we are taller than dogs, they have to jump up to reach our faces. Inevitably we have encouraged this behaviour by allowing our cute little puppies to lick us, because well, they’re cute and they’re just little – but puppies grow up to be big dogs which jump, which is not only annoying but potentially dangerous for children and the elderly. Hence, teaching dogs not to jump from an early age is advised.
What to do to stop the jumping
There are a number of methods you can try:
The first, and possibly easiest to stick to, is simply to ignore. Turn your back on him and go about your business. As soon as your dog calms down and has all four paws on the ground, praise him and give him the desired attention/greeting. If this causes more jumping, ignore and turn your back and so on until the dog gradually learns that the only way he will get the desired attention is by being calm, with all four paws firmly on the ground.
Teach your dog to sit instead of jump as the preferred way of greeting. Whenever he jumps, firmly issue the command to sit, and as soon as his butt hits the ground, reward him with a treat or affection. Again, this will take a while but he’ll eventually learn that sitting is the new “hello!” If your dog is still learning to sit on command, it might be beneficial to try this method using a leash at first.
3. Hand in front of face – DOWN!
When you dog jumps, put up your hand, palm flat against the dog’s nose and say “down!” Dogs’ noses are very sensitive and he won’t like the being pushed down in this manner. Again, consistency is key. Never knee your dog in the chest or cause pain to prevent them from jumping.
– Ignore your dog when you first arrive home. Take about five minutes after arriving home before you acknowledge him. If you can, use a different entrance so you are not greeted by your dog the minute you walk through the door. This not only gives them a few minutes to calm down but it also shows that you are in control.
– If your dog is known to jump on guests or small children, contain them until they are calm and have got used to the idea of strangers being around.
– Be consistent! Don’t confuse your dog by allowing jumping one minute and then reprimanding them the next.
If all else fails, call in an animal behaviourist who can give you a specific programme to follow under his expert guidance.