One of the most frustrating things you’ll have to deal with as a new puppy parent is a boisterous baby dog that jumps up any time they say hello, or bounce up on the sofa and on top of you every time you sit down. While your puppy is small and cute, it might not seem like a problem. But when you’ve got a full-grown Lab leaping on you like a lapdog, it can get a little annoying!
Don’t worry if you’ve got a bouncy pooch though, you can teach them not to jump up whether they’re a puppy learning their manners, or an older dog who has an established jumping behaviour you want to correct. So here’s how to stop a dog jumping up!
Yes, it’s important to stop your dog from jumping up for the safety of your pup and for the people they meet.
Your dog’s claws can easily hurt someone, and they might even knock someone over. Elderly people and children are easy to knock over and could be injured. They could also be hurt by your dog’s claws, which could be worryingly close to their face if your dog’s bouncing up. Your pooch might even hurt themselves if they fall back down, or land awkwardly after leaping about.
Plus, plenty of people just don’t like dogs jumping up on them, it is scary! (And can often get you covered in muddy pawprints...)
Jumping up on other dogs is equally bad-mannered and irritating for other pooches, who might growl or snap at your dog if they keep jumping up at them, and it could lead to a scrap.
Not to mention, jumping up on people and other animals can also lead to lunging on the lead. So stopping jumping up can teach your pooch impulse control and even help with other doggy behaviours.
You can teach a dog not to jump up, and it’s much easier to teach good habits to a puppy than to un-learn bouncy boisterous behaviour in an older dog, although both can be done and in a similar way. Stopping a dog from jumping up on you will also help to teach your dog not to jump up on anyone.
The key to knowing how to stop a dog jumping up, is to understand that a dog jumps up for attention. Dogs like to greet people “face to face”, and since we are taller than them, that means your pooch will try jumping up to be closer to your face to get your attention. It’s also hard to ignore a dog jumping up on you, so they know it’s a sure-fire way to get our focus.
So you need to teach your dog that jumping up won’t get them the attention they want. You’ll need to be patient and consistent, and everyone who meets your dog will need to enforce the rules, but your dog will learn quickly how to greet a new person or pooch politely without jumping up.
When your dog jumps up, you need to ignore them or correct them so they know that jumping up isn’t going to get them the attention or reward that they want.
This could mean turning away from your dog and looking away, but this often isn’t enough and a persistent pup will keep bouncing up.
Instead, one of the best things you can do is to keep a lead on your puppy in the house or during a training session. Keep the lead under your foot so it is short enough to stop your dog from jumping up. Even if they try to bounce, your puppy will realise they can’t jump up.
They will then either stop or choose to sit or lie down. If they sit or lie down, you should give them a fuss and a treat to reward them for choosing to be calm and do something positive.
You should then try to teach your dog to choose to sit or lie down every time, redirecting their behaviour from the unwanted jumping into something more positive.
Keep your dog’s lead underfoot for now and stand up with a treat or toy in your hand, anything exciting that your dog would usually jump up for.
At first, don’t add a command or redirection because this can be confusing. Instead, you want to build the foundations of good behaviour and teach your dog to choose to do something calm and constructive instead of jumping.
So while holding the toy or treat, wait and see if your dog jumps up. If they do, just say “no” to verbalise it is unwanted and negative, and stand up straight so you and the toy are out of your dog’s reach. As you move away, your dog might follow you instinctively and try to jump up to be closer, but just ignore them.
As soon as your dog settles down again and has all four paws on the floor, whether they are stood calmly, sitting, or lying down, say “yes!” and give them a big fuss, praise, and a reward like the toy or treat you’re holding. Within a few repetitions, your dog will realise you want them to stay on the ground, and staying on the floor will earn all the good things they want.
Start small by rewarding your dog for simply staying on the floor with all four paws in contact with the ground.
When they start to do it almost every time, you can give them a command to tell them to stop jumping. It could be something like “floor” or “down”. This isn’t always necessary though, because you can tell them “no” and redirect them into another command like “sit” instead, which should also stop the jumping up.
You should reinforce the good behaviour and give them verbal commands to stay down on the ground, instead of trying to jump up. It’s best to pre-empt if your dog is going to try and jump, and tell them to sit or lie down and reward a success.
If your dog jumps up, tell them “no” and stand up straight, then tell them to sit or lie down. If they obey the command, give them a big reward, including plenty of fuss, since that’s what they’re after!
Eventually, you can take their lead off and try this all again without it.
Teaching your dog to keep all four paws on the floor is a great way of teaching them impulse control and how to keep calm whenever something exciting happens, whether that’s reuniting with you after work, meeting a new fur-iend, or sitting and waiting for you to put their bowl down at dinner time.
One of the best things you can do to stop a dog from jumping up on strangers, no matter your pup’s size and age, is to make sure they’re exercised before you have guests.
If you know you have someone coming to visit, make sure you take your dog for a walk and ideally, get home just before your visitor arrives. You can also give them a puzzle toy or a kong to vent some energy. If your dog is mentally and physically stimulated and worn out, they’re much less likely to jump up.
Otherwise, knowing how to stop a dog from jumping up on strangers is very similar to stopping them from jumping up on you. It’s all about removing the reward if they jump up, correcting them, and redirecting them into doing something more positive then rewarding the good behaviour.
If you have a friend who can help you teach your dog not to jump up, that’s perfect! Get them to come over to meet your dog while you have your pup on a lead. Again, keep the lead short so they can’t jump up, or give a little pop on the lead to correct the dog and guide them back onto the floor.
The aim of this exercise is to get your friend to touch your dog without the dog jumping up.
If the dog jumps, your friend should step back or stop still and stand up, removing the “reward” of their attention. Once your dog is sat nicely or laid down, your friend can try to reach out and stroke your dog again.
If the dog jumps up, say “no” and correct them and get your friend to move away again. If the dog stays still, praise them, and if they stay still long enough that your friend can touch them, give them a big fuss which is the reward they were after!
Remember, always reward calm, positive behaviour and four paws on the floor.
If you’re struggling to make progress yourself with stopping a dog from jumping up, it’s always a good idea to get some professional help. You can find a behaviourist who can give you further advice and a training plan for you and your individual pooch.