Has it become stressful to take your dog anywhere? Does your dog jump up at people in the park? They jump up at guests, children, and the family. We are trying to stop our dogs from jumping up and we can end up frustrated and cross with our best friend. This will not be helpful but we are at our wits end. We’ve tried everything – and nothing has worked!
It’s a common problem. You and a lot of other people have gone through this. There is a way out:
How To Stop My Dog Jumping Up Step One: Learn why your dog is doing this.
“Its because you taught your dog to do this “– I tell my clients.
“No I definitely haven’t - I hate them jumping up”, they say. Its true – no one likes it, no one wants it, and no one thinks they have taught their dogs to do this. But they have.
How do we train our dogs to jump up?
By ever letting them jump up - ever at all. These are a few ways we can accidentally be teaching our dogs to jump up:
1) Allowing it ‘because they are only little puppies, and its normal for them to be enthusiastic and playful’
2) Allowing it because “they are so pleased to see me!”
3) Allowing it because “we are playing and they need to be stimulated, and its such fun and I love it and so does the dog”
The problem is that all three of these scenarios teach your dog to jump up.
In fact each time we do these things with our dogs, we are helping them practise (rehearse) jumping up. Be careful, because your dog will get very good at it.
In fact, your dog will become an expert jumper-upper.
They will also be repeating the behaviour in other situations - when and where you really don’t want that to happen. Your dear dog will always be doing their best, and doing it more, and better, each time.
When people come to see me with these problems, they don’t realise that they have accidentally taught their dogs to jump up - to get really good at behaviours that the humans don’t want!
I explain to people how they have been on the one hand teaching their dogs to jump up - and then on the other hand becoming stressed and frustrated and seeking help to stop that very jumping up.
What do I recommend to stop dogs jumping up?
The first step is to stop doing ANYTHING that encourages jumping up!
It all starts with us:
- How are we behaving ? Excited?
- Are we inviting certain behaviours with our voices., body language?
- What are we allowing to happen – (from the first time we let them jump up)?
Allowing is practising by the way..
- What are we rewarding with our attention – ie training them to do?
- And what behaviours are we reinforcing by repeating every time we do these activities with them?
You can see that before long – we will have trained them really really well!
Ok, so step one is to STOP doing all the things that we do just before our dogs jump up:
Never allow your puppy to jump up in the first place. Its much easier than training it to jump up and THEN trying to stop the habit.
Don’t do anything with your puppy or dog that could lead to jumping up.
Also note that if your puppy jumps up in one context they will be likely to repeat the behaviour in another situation.
Prevention is always the best cure.
Don’t do excited greetings with your dog.
You may be so pleased to them when you come home – and them so pleased to see you too.
It can hard not to go into squeaky voice and excited cuddles – but those are an invitation to your dog – “darling doggie, here I am, I’m so flattered and excited, would you like to jump up and lick me all over? We can do all this each time I come home – and each time you can get better and better at it all”
Yep – it’s a recipe for disaster. You could start researching your local dog trainers now as you may soon need some help!
Prevention is better than cure.
Don’t play with your puppy
Play is a perfect way for your puppy or young dog to have fun and learn.
But NOT playing with YOU.
Play is wonderful - between dogs.
Play is also wonderful for your dog on its own with its toys. ( See blog on Play)
But play is not something I should personally be involved in with my dog. Because I will very likely be teaching my dog to either – jump up, get excited, and maybe bark, or even bite (that toy in my hand).
So let your dog play with other dogs, and with their toys – but not play with YOU.
So, to summarise:
Avoid teaching your dog to jump up, or other behaviours you wont want in another context.
Remember prevention is the best cure.
IF your dog already has jumping up habits, or is a veteran jumper-upper, you may need some professional help to get you both out of the habitual cycle.
When people come to me with this problem we start at the beginning. Change starts with understanding
WHY our dog jumps up, and
HOW we might have accidentally trained our dog to do jump up, and knowing
What we humans need to STOP doing so that we are no longer inviting the behaviour.
Never practice what you don’t want. Notice and stop doing anything that teaches jumping up.
We cant fix the behaviours we don’t want on the one hand, until we have absolutely stopped inviting and rehearsing those behaviours on the other hand.
So OUR behaviour needs to be sorted first of all - for our dog to succeed at keeping four paws on the floor. This is the foundation for stopping jumping up.
When the human changes what they are doing - we are half way there. The rest will be easy and much more likely to succeed..
When the human knows why the dog is jumping up, and how they taught the dog to do this., and what they need to do diferently, THEN things can start to change.
I can then work with my client to find the right strategies to STOP and RE-PATTERN any remaining persistent jumping up habits. It’s very doable, and changes can come fast. This part of the work is best done one to one so we can work with your individual life situation and your dog’s individual needs.