Jumping up is a behaviour which many dogs display &, without realising, owners can accidently reinforce this behaviour. If you have a small dog you may not mind if they jump however, if you have a large strong dog you may risk being flattened on the floor with their excitement!
To help dogs learn not to jump we need to address why they do it to prevent them starting. The most common reasons are:
You dog may get excited to see you, a visitor, or someone on a walk, and naturally want to go say hello so they are allowed to jump up. But when there is someone who is not keen on dogs or they have wet muddy paws you do not let them. This is sending mixed signal, causing them to not understand what is acceptable, can they jump or not?
They will learn from previous interactions with you, and others, that when they jump up (even if not all the time) they may get some kind of interaction & attention (even negative), which they want. Dogs love attention so if they have received this, they quickly learn that this behaviour gets a response and it will just keep happening.
Give your dog regular attention when they are around you and have four paws on the floor and not jumping up.
You arrive home or maybe there’s someone new around, & your dog will become very excited and want to rush to say hello. This excitement needs to be channelled in to an alternative behaviour or activity so your dog no longer feels the need to jump up.
To prevent jumping up we need to teach your dog that to get the attention they want, an alternative action will work better for them instead, whether on or off lead.
A great alternative is to teach your dog to automatically sit instead.
Be ready with some food/treats. As your dog approaches you to jump up, using a treat, hold it out in front of you ready to place it under their nose as they reach you. When they do, & try to eat the food/treat then guide them in to a sit. As soon as they get in to position, give several treats in a row. Repeat a few times regularly throughout the day.
After a while you will see they will begin to automatically sit in front of you for their reward. when they are doing well you can begin to give less treats/food. You can also give them vocal and physical praise but do this calmly. If you act all excited they may start to jump up.
Do not be tempted to ask for a ‘sit’, we want them to work out what they need to do all on their own. Letting them do this will help when they are off lead and approach a new person to say hello to.
Teaching fun impulse control games will also help them learn self-control.
Your dog may be so over excited and hyped up they may not have the ability to just switch off enough to learn to sit.
If your dog starts running towards you, or a visitor, act quickly to redirect them away from jumping up to do something else.
Scattering some food/treats on the floor in front of them is a great way to redirect them They will spend time looking for, and eating, them. This should take their mind off jumping. Some dogs may need a small amount of food regularly dropped to keep them busy. Make a little trail so it’s more fun. Doing this also helps use up some of their built up energy to help them calm down. You can then move on to teaching them to sit.
There will be times, while your dog is still learning, they may still jump up.
Never shout at them, wave your arms around, try to push them away or correct in any way. Doing this may initially get them off, but it is not teaching them anything.
Responding with any negativity may result in them stopping through fear, which I am sure you do not want your dog to feel.
As soon as they jump up, instantly stop giving your dog any attention, (no words, noises or even eye contact) and turn your back and, if necessary, calmly walk away.
When they have settled & keeping four paws on the floor then reward and give attention they want. Do this calmly otherwise they will probably try to jump again with excitement.
There may be times, especially with children or visitors, when it is difficult to expect some people to follow the same methods. Attaching their lead will help manage your dog so they do not have the chance to make the mistake of jumping.
It will require several consistent repetitions for your dog to learn that jumping up doesn't result in anything good happening for them anymore,but instead doing something else equals something much better.
Be patient, do not change what you are doing. Allow them the time to learn.
Be patient & consistent.
Set your dog up for success!
Manage situations so your dog does not have the opportunity to make a mistake.