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Teaching Your Dog to Stop Jumping Up

Teaching Your Dog to Stop Jumping Up

The Jumping Problem

Oh boy, do I know how frustrating it can be to have a dog that just won’t stop jumping up on people. My pup, Buddy, was a serial jumper when he was a puppy – he’d bound up to every visitor, tail wagging furiously, and get his dirty little paws all over their clothes. It was embarrassing and, let’s be honest, a little dangerous too. I was constantly having to apologize and wrestle him off people.

But you know what they say – where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I was determined to nip this habit in the bud before it became a lifelong issue. After a lot of patience and consistent training, I’m happy to report that Buddy is now a model of good behavior when it comes to greetings. He sits politely and waits for pets instead of assaulting our guests. It’s made a world of difference, both for my peace of mind and Buddy’s relationships with the people in his life.

If you’re in the throes of a jumping problem with your own canine companion, don’t lose hope! With the right techniques and a bit of elbow grease, you can teach your dog to keep all four paws firmly on the ground. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps I used to curb Buddy’s jumping, as well as some additional tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be on your way to having a polite, well-mannered pup. Let’s get started!

Why Do Dogs Jump Up?

Before we dive into the training, it’s important to understand why dogs jump up in the first place. At its core, jumping is a natural canine behavior – after all, when a dog greets another dog or person, the instinct is to get up close and personal. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs jump up because it allows them to say hello face-to-face and get attention (which, let’s be real, is pretty much a dog’s favorite thing).

Now, from a human perspective, this behavior is, shall we say, less than desirable. Muddy paw prints on our clothes, the potential for someone (especially a child or elderly person) to get knocked over – it’s just not ideal. But to your dog, jumping up is a totally normal and rewarding way to greet. That’s why it’s so important to teach an alternative, more polite behavior.

Training a Polite Greeting

The key to curbing jumping is to replace that behavior with something else that’s equally rewarding for your dog. In my experience, the best alternative is to teach your pup to sit and wait calmly for attention and pets.

Here’s how I did it with Buddy:

  1. Start Training Sit
    Before we could work on greetings, I needed to make sure Buddy had a solid “sit” cue. We practiced this command in all kinds of low-distraction environments until he was a pro at planting his butt on the ground on command.

  2. Introduce Sit for Greetings
    Once Buddy had the sit down pat, I started incorporating it into our greeting routine. Whenever someone came to the door, I’d have Buddy sit and wait patiently while they entered. If he started to rise up, I’d quickly say “ah-ah” and have him sit back down. As soon as he was sitting nicely, the visitor would reward him with pets and praise.

  3. Be Consistent
    Consistency is key when teaching any new behavior, and greeting manners are no exception. I made sure that every single person who came to our house followed the same protocol – no exceptions! Even if Buddy tried to jump, the visitor would simply turn away until he was sitting politely again.

  4. Reinforce Good Behavior
    Of course, I didn’t just expect Buddy to sit there quietly without any rewards. I made sure to have a stash of his favorite treats on hand to give him whenever he greeted someone the right way. That positive reinforcement went a long way in cementing the new behavior.

It took some time and repetition, but eventually, Buddy caught on. Sitting politely for greetings became his new normal, and jumping was a distant memory. These days, he greets all our guests (and even random strangers on the street) with a wiggly butt firmly planted on the ground. It’s a joy to see, and I know it makes for a much safer, more pleasant interaction for everyone involved.

Management Matters

While you’re working on training the perfect greeting, it’s also important to manage your dog’s behavior so they don’t have the opportunity to practice jumping. After all, every time they jump up and get attention (even if it’s negative attention like being pushed away), it reinforces that behavior.

Here are some management tips that helped me:

  • Baby Gate: I set up a baby gate at our front door so Buddy couldn’t bound out and greet visitors before I had a chance to intervene. This gave me more control over the situation.

  • Crate or Mat: If I knew we were expecting company, I’d send Buddy to his crate or a designated “place” mat with a tasty chew toy to keep him occupied.

  • Leash Walking: When we were out and about and Buddy was likely to encounter strangers, I kept him on a short leash so I could quickly interrupt any jumping attempts.

  • Distraction Toys: At the front door, I kept a stash of Buddy’s favorite squeaky toys. When guests arrived, I’d toss one away from the door to redirect his energy.

The key is making it as difficult as possible for your dog to jump up, at least until you’ve got the training firmly established. With consistency and patience, those jumping tendencies will start to fade, and you can gradually ease up on the management techniques.

Tackling Jumping in Public

One of the trickier aspects of the jumping problem is dealing with it when you’re out in public. After all, you can’t really control how strangers will react to your dog, and some people may inadvertently reinforce the jumping behavior by petting or even yelling at your pup.

The American Kennel Club recommends avoiding having your dog greet strangers altogether until you’ve got the training solidly in place. Instead, you can try using a “watch me” cue to get your dog’s attention or engaging them with a fun toy to prevent the jumping in the first place.

When Buddy and I were out and about, I always made sure to give a quick heads up to anyone we encountered. I’d say something like, “Excuse me, my dog is in training not to jump, so please don’t pet him.” That way, people knew to ignore any jumping attempts and reinforce the good behavior when Buddy sat politely.

It takes some work, but with consistency and commitment, you can absolutely teach your dog to greet people in a calm, polite way – whether it’s at home or out in the world. And let me tell you, it’s so worth it. Not only does it make for smoother, safer interactions, but it also helps build your dog’s confidence and strengthens your bond.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re dealing with a jumping problem, don’t get discouraged. I know it can be frustrating, but I promise you, it’s a habit that can be broken. With the right training techniques and a little bit of patience, you can transform your rambunctious jumper into a polite, well-mannered canine companion.

And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. The team at is always here to provide support, resources, and expert advice. So dive in, get to work, and enjoy watching your dog blossom into the best-behaved pup on the block!

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