Is your dog jumping on people?

Training a dog or a kid is more or less same… lots of love, patience and little sternness…turns a brat into a disciplined well-mannered chap. The behaviour, which is not liked, should not be encouraged. Here’s how to stop your dog from jumping on people.

There are three things, which dogs find very rewarding from their owners, that is, when you look at them, talk to them or touch them. These rewards should be used for correct behaviour and not for unwanted behaviour. 

If your dog or puppy is jumping up on people, just ignore the behaviour, fold your arms and turn your head and back. This must be done as soon as you anticipate your dog’s about to jump up on you. Once the dog has already jumped up, it is a bit late, try to be ready next time. If you are sitting down when the dog jumps up on you, just stand up, say nothing, fold your arms and turn your head and back on the dog. 

You must not look at your dog, touch your dog (including pushing him down), or talk to your dog (including saying NO). If you look at your dog, push him down or say No or shout at him, the behaviour is rewarded and he will most likely increase the jumping up behaviour. Even a negative reward (such as saying NO) can be seen by your dog as a positive reward as he is getting the attention he wants. Therefore he is training you to reward him with attention for his unwanted behaviour. 

For you to be successful in stopping or preventing your dog jumping up on people, you must be consistent. This is not something that will change overnight but takes time, and everyone your dog meets must do the same. You may have to be strong in telling people not to pet your dog for jumping up on them. It is your dog and you need to protect both your dog and the people your dog meets from unwanted behaviour. 

If your dog is getting a reward from time to time from people touching, look at or speaking to your dog when he jumps up on them, the unwanted behaviour will increase and become harder to get rid of. You must decide to make sure everyone your dog meets will not reinforce the unwanted behaviour. The training must be consistent so the dog gets to know that jumping up on people is never rewarding and the behaviour will eventually stop. 

Once your dog is behaving correctly and not jumping up on people you can then reward your dog with petting and praise. Keep all petting slow and gentle so as not to wind the dog to jump up again. Dogs are wound up and stressed by fast movements so keep petting 

and any moving around your dog slow. Watch your dog’s body language and learn from him/her. 

(Nicole Mackie is a dog-training instructor at the Sheila Harper Canine Education Centre in the Midlands of England. She also takes clicker-training seminars in New Zealand.)

– by Nicole Mackie

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