Chapter 3.5: No Jumping Please

Dogs jump on people for several reasons. Most of the time their intentions are friendly as they try to greet the person or play with the person. While puppies who jump on people are rather cute, a large adult dog jumping is no longer cute and can be quite annoying to adults and dangerous to little kids. Hence, it is recommended to teach puppies that proper greeting behavior involves sitting politely rather than jumping enthusiastically.

Teaching a puppy not to jump is a rather simple process. All we need to do is to teach the puppy that jumping does not get him anything. In fact, it actually takes away attention from him. If we consistently ignore a jumping puppy while consistently reinforcing sitting or at least standing on all fours, we can get a puppy to understand what is expected from him during greeting in no time at all.

Since most of the time the puppy wants attention, we simply decide when this attention is being given to her. As you greet the puppy, play and give attention only as long all four legs are on the ground. The instant the puppy jumps on you, stand up and turn your back to her. Wait patiently until the jumping stops and then turn around and start playing with the puppy again. it is as simple as that. There is no need to knee the puppy in the chest when she is jumping (can be quite dangerous, not to mention painful to the puppy) and no need for other active punishments. Taking your attention away from the puppy and ignoring her is punishment enough.

Where most dog owners fail in this process is consistency. In order for the puppy to learn not to jump, everyone should act the same around her. You cannot let the puppy jump sometimes and avoid jumping at other times. All people in the household, including visitors and strangers, should act the same and ignore the puppy when she is jumping on them. Many people that you will meet on the street will tell you that it is ok and that they do not mind jumping. it is your responsibility, however, to politely ask those people to help you in the training and avoid attending to the puppy while she is jumping.

For those of you who still want their puppy to jump from time to time, we can teach jumping on cue. The puppy can be taught to jump just like she can be taught to heel or sit. Once you have the jumping behavior on cue, you can use it to have the dog jump. The default, however, if no cue is given, is to have all four legs on the ground.

Step by Step:

  1. Prepare plenty of tasty treats.
  2. Start playing with your puppy and the instant she jumps on you stop playing and turn your back to her.
  3. In most cases, the puppy will continue jumping for a while. Be patient, and keep turning your back and avoiding your puppy.
  4. The second your puppy gives up and stops jumping, turn back to her, reward her, pet her, and play with her.
  5. The puppy will now try to jump again. – Immediately stop playing and repeat steps 2-4.
  6. After several repetitions, you will note that the puppy avoids jumping and may start the act of jumping and stop in the middle of the jump. Reward generously – your puppy is learning.
  7. Repeat this exercise with different people and in different locations. Ask friends to help you with your training.
  8. A similar exercise can be done with the food bowl when puppies jump on it to start eating:
    1. Hold the food bowl (with food in it) in your arm.
    2. Have the puppy sit and when she does, start lowering the food bowl.
    3. Once the puppy lifts his behind from the sit, stand up again, and raise the food bowl.
    4. The second the puppy sits, start lowering the food bowl again.
    5. Repeat steps a-d until your puppy sits all through the lowering of the food bowl to the ground.
    6. Only then, say “ok” and let your puppy eat.
    7. This exercise is learned in less than 5 minutes by most dogs. Repeat it over 2-3 days and you will have a puppy that waits politely for her food.
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