If there’s a dog in your life, you’ve likely been jumped on at one point or another. In your dog’s eyes, jumping on you is simply a way to communicate, but it’s also a behavior that can quickly spiral out of control and prevent you and others from being able to enjoy your four-legged friend.
Whether you want to learn how to stop a dog from jumping on people, how to stop a dog from jumping on the counter, or how to stop a dog from jumping period, the tips and tools are all right here.
What it Means When Dogs Jump on You (and Why it’s Annoying to Humans)
Before you can correct the problem, it’s important to understand the psychology of jumping from your dog’s perspective. In most cases, jumping is a sign of excitement or love or that your pup wants your attention. But it can also be a sign of dominance or an indication that your dog needs an outlet for excess energy.
You know your dog best, and you can use context to determine what they’re trying to tell you—but regardless of intent, jumping is a behavior that needs to be controlled to keep everyone safe. Your dog may trip or knock you down or break things if they’re jumping onto counters and furniture. In order to keep yourself, your space, your guests, and your dog protected, you’ll want to get jumping under control as soon as possible.
How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping—on You, Strangers, and Guests
Step 1: Ignore and Correct
If you want to learn how to get a dog to stop jumping, it’s key to ignore the unwanted behavior. It can be difficult at first, but don’t interact with your dog while they are jumping—don’t speak to them, don’t touch them. You may even need to turn your back and walk away.
Once they see that you’re not going to engage while they are jumping, give a command that they know well, such as “sit,” until your dog is sitting and has settled down. Then, and only then, reward your dog with positive attention and a treat.
If your dog moves out of the sit position, repeat the command and wait until they are calm and focused before rewarding the behavior. Be prepared to repeat this process several times when you are first learning how to stop a dog from jumping on you—consistency leads to long-term success and understanding.
Step 2: Practice With Others
If your goal is to learn how to stop a dog from jumping on strangers or how to stop a dog from jumping on guests, you’ll need to advance your dog’s training to practice and participation with others.
Begin by inviting known (and willing!) guests to your home and lean on the technique from step one. When your guests enter, instruct your dog to sit and do not reward them until they are sitting and settled. You may need to repeat the command, especially if your dog is very friendly or excitable, and you can also keep your dog on a leash if you’re worried about maintaining control with guests present. As soon as your dog is sitting and focused, reward them.
Repeat the “enter and sit” process a few times: Ask your guests to reenter your home, have your dog sit, and instruct your guests to approach and reward. If your dog jumps up, begin the process again, and don’t allow them to receive attention from your guests until they can sit and focus for the entire interaction.
You can adapt this approach to include interactions with strangers, too. Assuming that your dog is on a leash when outside of your home, ask your dog to sit when you see a stranger approaching. Once your dog sits, reward the behavior and either continue walking or allow the stranger to approach your dog. Just as you would with guests in your home, if your dog begins to jump on the stranger, redirect them back into a sitting position and wait until they’re calm before allowing the stranger to interact.
Pro Tip: When to Consult a Pro
If you need to learn how to stop a dog from jumping and nipping or—more concerningly—how to stop a dog from jumping and biting, you should consult a professional dog trainer with accreditation, licensing, and insurance.
Nipping and biting can be serious, dangerous behaviors and it’s best to have a knowledgeable professional available to help you and your dog work through corrections and keep everyone safe.
Step 3: Maintain
The final step in learning how to stop a dog from jumping is simply to maintain the training you practiced in steps one and two. Continue to ignore the unwanted behavior and ask your dog to sit and settle anytime that they try to jump. Be sure that you’re reinforcing your training when guests and strangers are present, too, and never be afraid to go back to the beginning if your dog begins to regress.
Above all, remember that animal training is designed to be a long-term process, and patience is your most important tool!
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