One of the most lovable character traits of a dog is their affection, and pet dogs will often demonstrate this by jumping up on their owners or any other humans who are around.
But while jumping is all cute and friendly when your tiny puppy jumps up for a love, it’s a little bit different when a fully grown retriever is trying to sit on your grandparents’ laps. Dog jumping is not something you should be encouraging at home, as it can not only cause trouble with guests, but it can lead to long term doggie injuries in their knees, legs, or back.
In this article, we take a look at why your dog jumps on people, and we’ll look at how to train a dog to stop jumping. Keep reading, then see if you can put our dog training and pet management tips into practice!
What is dog jumping?
When trainers and pet behaviorists talk about dog jumping, they are referring to a number of common incidents in which dogs ’jump up’. This can either be onto their hind legs or onto furniture that’s raised above their standard eye level.
At home, dog jumping can be seen in a variety of scenarios. Your dog jumping onto the bed to find a comfy spot to sleep or your dog jumping on the sofa when you’re sitting down watching television are common behaviors. Dogs can jump up at owners or visitors when they enter the house or when they see people in the street while out for a walk.
Dogs will jump onto kitchen countertops or tables in search of food, or particularly intelligent dogs might jump up to open doors. Dogs love to jump, but it’s also possible to stop dog jumping, even later on in your dog’s life.
Why do dogs jump on you?
If you’re wondering “Why is it my dog keeps jumping on me,” then there’s no single answer to look at. Dog behavior is complex, and it’s based on their evolution and selective breeding by humans, their character traits and personality, and the way they’ve been trained and managed by their owners.
Dogs jump for a number of reasons, with much of it rooted in their need to greet both humans and other dogs. Dogs can jump up when they are excited, when they want to say ‘hello’, or when they are attempting to show their dominance.
Your dog might simply have missed you while you were at work and jumps up to welcome you home. Your dog might want to sit with you on the couch, or they might have a need to be raised up higher, on a human level in the house.
How to stop a dog from jumping on you
Regardless of the reasons behind dog jumping, learning to teach a dog to stop jumping begins early in their life, with good training and behavioral management.
The first thing to remember, though, is that your dog isn’t trying to annoy you or hurt you by jumping. In most cases, your dog is just being friendly. To prevent the dog from jumping, you need to not necessarily punish but to be constructive. It’s important to remember, too, that while pet training is integral to keep dogs from jumping, you need to train your family and friends to not encourage the behavior as well. Train the people first, and the dogs will follow!
Here are our top training and management tips to help train dogs not to jump.
Start training your dog early
Training needs to start early if you want it to be smooth (but it’s not impossible later on in life, just more difficult!). The conditioning you give your dog when it’s a puppy is fundamental to shaping its behavioral patterns throughout the rest of its life.
This means training your dog not to jump when it’s a puppy. For the owner, though, this often proves challenging because it’s when they’re puppies that we most want to pick them up and let them jump around!
Teach by withdrawing attention
Puppies (well, all dogs) love attention, especially from the humans they know will provide them with food, walks, and hugs. One of the most effective training methods, then, is withdrawing this attention. This starts young, too, and you can help to discourage your dog from jumping by simply not giving them your full attention when they do try and jump.
Ignore them, and they won’t be encouraged to try and sit on your lap. Encourage them, and they’ll think it’s perfectly normal to jump on the bed and roll around on your pillows when you’ve just got back from a muddy walk in the woods!
You can withdraw attention in a number of ways. Simply don’t react if the dog jumps up, for instance. If you want them to be calm when you enter a room or come home from work, then turn around and walk out again if they jump up. Soon enough, they’ll stop.
Focus on good behavior and reward it
You don’t want to be negative with your pet to prevent a dog from jumping. Rather than shouting at the dog or pushing it away when they do jump up on the couch, reward your dog when they are demonstrating good behavior.
For instance, if your dog jumps up, don’t be negative. Simply ignore them, then, when they are back on the floor with all fours on the ground, reward them with a tasty doggie treat. This rewards your dog for being on the floor, on all fours, rather than jumping up; while also not being negative towards them (remember, dogs have feelings too).
Make your dogs sit
Keeping your dog on all fours is paramount to a successful dog jumping strategy. With this in mind, you can teach them to sit when they try to jump up. If your dog attempts to jump onto the couch, tell them to sit. Then give a reward if they do so.
This method keeps your dog on the floor more than jumping up, as they’ll be keen to be rewarded with more tasty doggie treats. You can practice this command with them when you enter the room, too, to keep them sitting when you ask it of them, no matter the location or the scenario.
Is it bad for dogs to jump?
Owners have different opinions on dog jumping. Some people see dog jumping as rude, while others see it as adorable!
The fact is, however, that large dogs can be dangerous if they are allowed to jump up and down all the time. Even smaller dogs can cause cuts and scratches, while muddy dogs are generally an inconvenience if they start dirtying your home (and your clothes) up all the time.
Dogs can also injure themselves, particularly if they’re regularly jumping up and down onto tall furniture or beds. Dogs can injure their joints when landing, or they can slip and cause themselves injury (dogs aren’t invincible).
Of course, if you’re the type of owner that doesn’t mind their dogs sitting on the couch or bed (in a controlled manner, of course), then you can consider investing in a bed ramp for your pet instead. Train them to calmly walk up the ramp in order to keep them under control and to prevent them from injuring themselves!
Dog jumping: consistency is the key to prevention!
Ultimately, the key to preventing a dog jumping on a person or a dog jumping on its owner is to be consistent with your pet. You need to constantly enforce the rules of the home by rewarding their good behavior when it occurs and withdrawing your attention when they don’t play by your rules.
You need to constantly train and manage your dog, from a puppy upwards, to achieve the intended results, all the time. It takes patience, but you and your dog will be happier at the end of it!
Why not bookmark our guide to dog jumping, and help train your pet at home?