So, you've got a jumper. Sure, it's nice to be loved and appreciated the moment you walk through the door, but being hit with a groin punch the minute you step into a room isn't exactly what you had in mind. While it may have been cute when your dog was a puppy or when you first brought him or her home from adoption, it’s probably lost its luster by now — especially if you’re a male and tired of taking relentless hits to your privates. No worries. Training your dog not to jump is actually do-able.
Why Does My Dog Jump?
The most obvious answer to the question is excitement and attention. The thing is, the problem is actually with you, the dog owner, or the previous owner of your furry friend. Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably an enabler. Yes, nobody wants to hear that, but to a certain extent you or someone’s been reinforcing this negative behavior. This isn’t meant to point the finger of blame at anyone, but even if you tell your dog to stop and/or push them away, they still feel rewarded, because you directed the command and action at them. In essence, you’ve paid attention to them.
Remember, the system that governs a dog’s behavior is the reward system. That’s just how they roll. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, the first thing you need to do is get the “sit” command down pat. This is easily accomplished also by using the reward system, but in the form of treats. Before you progress, though, here are some tips. For starters, always remain calm when working with your dog. This is true even if you’re praising them. Don’t go into high-pitched, “Oh, you’re such a good baby!” mode, because this will only encourage the jumping. Don’t yell at them either.
Training Your Dog
This is going to take some practice on both your parts and a lot of repetition. You may even need to simulate coming home in order to trigger the jumping response. However you do it, do not respond to your dog with pets, pats or even pushing away when they jump on you. Simply tell them “no” in a calm, steady voice and walk away. You need to be firm. You don’t want to acknowledge them until they’re calm. Once that happens, tell them to sit and give them a kibble or some sort of training treat when they comply.
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
By waiting until your dog is calm and sitting before paying attention to them, you’ll teach them that that’s the behavior they’ll be rewarded for. Even an older dog will eventually make the connection. The tough part may be in sticking to these rules. That’s why it’s important that everyone who comes in contact with your dog abides by this system: when the dog calms down and sits then it’s time for some lovin’ — just don’t pour it on so thick that they start jumping again.
This same technique of ignoring them can work for dogs that pee when excited. Don’t pet them until they’re calm and your shoes won’t get wet.