My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Help with Jumping


by Sarah Wilson,

Jumping up can be annoying as well as painful. It can also be dangerous; knocking over a child or older person, even with friendly intentions, can injure. You can get a good handle on this problem by practicing a few basic games when all is calm. Then, when your dog is excited and going airborne, you will have a way to explain what you want and your dog will know exactly what you mean.


Pretrain the commands – Off and Sit–meaning, teach your dog what you expect when all is calm, so you can create success when things are not.
Cut shy, sensitive, deficit and not-that-social dogs some slack here. With them, being confident and social is more important than being controlled. If they jump up softly and politely, either greet them calmly or simply guide them into a sit and reward them.
If (when) your dog does jump, calmly step forward without making eye contact until he gets off, then stop and calmly praise him. Try not to step back when he jumps on you, as that will encourage him to jump more.
Do call a qualified dog professional if your dog jumps at you with front legs stiff– basically, using you as a backboard. This isn’t usually a friendly greeting as much as it is an assault. Please treat it as such and get the help you need to get his brain, and therefore his body, under control.
Use tethers when things are so exciting that you cannot yet manage him. Tethering him on his flat collar near the front door allows you to greet your guests and then deal with your dog. Better this than having him practice jumping again.
Do practice consistency. Please don’t reward him with praise and petting for jumping during play and then get angry when he does the same thing later. Being consistent is a gift you give your dog. Give generously.
Keep one hand in his flat, buckle collar when you bend down to pet him for keeping four on the floor. This hand in the collar prevents him from leaping up at your face. Such happy leaping can snap a tooth, break a cheek bone or cause other injuries (and we know people these things have actually happened to, so we’re not being alarmist, we’re being honest).


Don’t try to teach these when your pup/dog is excited. That is the worst time to teach, like trying to teach reading to a nine-year-old baseball fanatic during a World Series game.
Don’t reward jumping. It’s easy to do – if you ever pet/smile/reward your dog for jumping on you during greetings or play, if you pet your dog for jumping up on you when you are on the couch, etc. then your dog has every reason to be confused. Our dogs can change – but we have to change first!
Don’t use violent methods (kicking, yelling, grabbing) to fix this. It isn’t necessary and can create more (and bigger) problems.
Don’t forget the leash! Keeping the leash on when you are home can allow you to create success rather than practice failure. Work on your Simple Sits, Guided Downs and Mine to gain even more control when your puppy/dog is excited.

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