Many puppies will jump up on their new family members for attention. In response, many people will reach down and pet their puppies without realizing the consequences. Rewarding the puppy with attention when he jumps on you ensures the behaviour of jumping on people will continue. As your puppy grows in size and weight, jumping can get out of hand, be uncomfortable to live with, and be potentially dangerous.
NEVER PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PUPPY IF HE DOES NOT HAVE ALL FOUR PAWS ON THE FLOOR. If your puppy is already jumping, take him into a small room of the house and re-create the scenario that caused him to jump on you. The second he starts to jump up on you, quickly walk out of the room and close the door. Wait 20 or 30 seconds, go back into the room, and greet him just like you did before. If he jumps on you again, repeat this exercise several times until he can keep all four paws on the floor when you walk into the room. This may take a few weeks, so after a few tries in each session, ask your puppy to sit, then mark and reward him to end your training session on a positive note.
If you walk into the room and he does keep all four paws on the floor, MARK AND REWARD him immediately by petting him or giving him an ear scratch.
As the behaviour starts to diminish, you can put your puppy on a leash and let him out of the room. If he jumps on you when he is outside of the room, cross your arms over your chest and look away from him. Once all four of his paws are on the floor, mark the behaviour with the word “yes” and give an ear scratch as a reward. Crossing your arms over your chest serves two functions: It ensures your face is protected and it protects your arms and fingers from being bitten or scratched by your puppy while he is jumping.
If crossing your arms and ignoring him does not seem to work, it is time to use a leash. Put a four- to six-foot leash on him. Give him about three feet of leash and then step on the remainder. When the puppy tries to jump up, the leash will cause him to self-correct. The second all four paws are on the floor, mark and reward with an ear scratch. Once you feel the puppy understands that you do not want him to jump on you, introduce treats when he self-corrects his jumping behaviour without the help of a leash.
When your puppy tries to jump up on you, you can take a step forward into his space. This will cause him to want to back up. To back up, he will need all four paws on the floor. The second all four paws hit the floor, mark and reward the four paws on the floor. You can also try taking one giant step backward. Your puppy will not have your body to lean on and his front paws will have to go on the floor for him to keep his balance. The second all four paws are on the floor, mark and reward with an ear scratch.
If your puppy jumps on guests coming into your home, you can ask them to take a giant step backward or take a step forward toward your puppy. The second the puppy’s feet hit the floor, ask your visitor to mark the behaviour and then give the puppy a little ear scratch as a reward. Guests should also be asked not to pet your puppy unless all four paws are on the floor.
Grabbing your dog’s paws and squeezing, or kneeing your dog in the chest, are hurtful methods and in most cases are not successful training methods. You can also end up with additional behaviour problems. For example, these methods may cause your dog to not trust you touching his paws, making nail trimming a difficult task. Kneeing your dog in the chest can cause physical harm to your puppy, perhaps even a cracked rib.
If you enjoy your dog jumping on you but others do not, you can train him to jump up on cue. This behaviour can be trained by giving the jumping behaviour a cue (word) every time he jumps on you. You can use the word “up,” if he jumps up on you without being invited, then use one of the methods described above to stop or ignore the uninvited jump.
A jumping puppy can be a danger, and accidents can occur. Jumping puppies can accidentally knock over an elderly person or a child, causing physical harm. A jumping puppy can scratch skin, rip clothing, and sometimes cause unintentional bites to the face. Even if your dog loves people, he still needs to practice self-control and good manners. Greeting people with all four paws on the floor is a much safer, gentler, and more appropriate way for your puppy to behave.
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