There are three main reasons why your dog jumps on people:
- To get attention and greet people.Dogs identify each other by smelling scent glands around their face, and so try to do the same with people.
- In order to assert dominance. When people immediately respond to the dogs jumping, it puts him in power. You MUST assert your alpha leader rank!
- Because, inadvertently or directly, the family or visitors has rewarded the dog for this behavior before. This could be either because the family greeted the dog when it jumped, OR because the dog associated jumping with positive things, such as being fed or getting attention.
In order to stop your dog from jumping on people, you need to first of all make sure your dog is trained in two essential commands: The SIT command, and the OFF command. To teach your Dog the off command, follow these simple rules:
- When the puppy or older dog jumps (whether on a person or furniture), immediately say OFF.
- Make an open-mouthed snarl without noise, but with your teeth quite visible. This way, you're talking a dog's language, one he will surely understand! This is a natural signal used by adult dogs to their puppies to calm down. Ensure you make direct eye contact.
- Repeat this command several times, until your dog doesnt need to be told twice. Praise immediately when he stops himself from jumping.
Make sure other family members and visitors understand this command, as well. It is crucial that your dog understand that all family and visitors are above his rank in the pack. Otherwise, he will lash out and try to assert himself on everyone. While using the Off command may not be appreciated by most visitors, but it is more important that a dog has a good greeting manner with all people. A little effort on everyone's side makes your dog disciplined and docile.
Youll also want to ensure your dog is well-versed in the SIT command whenever he looks like hes about to jump. Look for familiar body language that your dog is about to jump, such as craning his neck, preparing his hind legs, and wagging his tail. Immediately counter this with the Sit command.
If your dog does jump on people, immediately state Off, then ignore the dog until he has calmed down. As the alpha of the pack, you must reprimand him for his actions. Isolating the dog is a very good method that your dog understands through his pack instincts, for teaching your dog that he has acted inappropriately.
Ultimately, prevention is the best strategy in stopping your dog from jumping on people. There are several ways to approach this:
1. Knowing that dogs like to greet other animals by sniffing around their face, lower yourself to HIS level. This eliminates the need to jump, and makes him feel more comfortable. Whenever you wish to pet your dog or give him a cuddle, bend down and look at him on an even level.
2. Some people manage to train their dog to wait for love by showing them their hands at knee level, until the dog learns to apply this rule to everyone. Teach them the DOWN or OFF command to make sure it understands. Additionally, make visitors and other family members aware that, should they wish to pet the dog, to show the dog their hands at knee level, or to bend down him or herself. This will discourage your dog from jumping up. Consistency is always key to training your dog out of unacceptable behaviors.
3. The other method of dissuading dogs from jumping up on people rely more on aversion, giving them an outcome other than the one they desire and expect. Use your body to ward off the dog. Step out of reach, raise a knee, or catch and hold the dogs legs. All these techniques should send a signal to your dog that he cannot go up. However, if he continues to try to jump, try some of the other techniques, and make sure to consistently reprimand and ignore him until he has calmed won.
4. Finally, if the problem persists, you can try training products such as collars that spray water or citrus. While these are generally used for barking or biting, they can also be used to stop your dog from jumping, if the problem becomes severe.
Ultimately, the best way to train your dog is to clearly and consistently express your expectations, rewarding your dog for a positive outcome, and reprimanding him for a negative outcome. Make sure to be consistent and vigilant, and your dog will reward you by no longer jumping on you or your guests. Good luck!
Dog Obedience Advice is a free resource offering advice on dog training and a host of common problems dog owners face, including: aggression in all its forms, from territoriality to possessiveness, and from dominance aggression to aggression caused by fear; the most common and frustrating obedience issues, such as problem digging, chewing, and barking; and comprehensive information on house training methods with sound advice on tackling all of the most common housebreaking problems.
On the site you will find indepth articles and reviews of dog training products that we have researched and trialled. Dog Obedience Advice is run by Colin Pederson, a self-confessed "dog man" residing in California with his wife and black Lab Casey.