You are here
Does your dog jump up on people?
First, when does your dog jump up on people? Just when on walks? Visitors to your home? Only if they have food? Whatever the situation, there are ways to teach your dog not to jump up. It speeds the learning if you replace jumping up with another thing for your dog to do, so a good goal is to teach him to sit at the times when he would normally jump up on people. You will need a well-fitted nylon or leather collar or a Gentle Leader type head halter, and a regular 6 foot nylon or leather leash (not an extendable one and not a chain leash). These training tips will not work without the proper equipment; do not try them with any kind of harness or a chain/slip/choke collar.
If your dog jumps up on people he meets when on walks, here’s one way to teach him not to. When another person approaches, step on the leash firmly (lean on it if your dog is large). Leave only enough loose leash on your dog’s side so he can stand or sit, but he can’t get his feet off the ground. At first, don’t say anything to your dog at all. Just ignore him! Tell the person approaching that the dog is in training and ask them to ignore him, too. Eventually, the dog will sit or lie down quietly. When he does, calmly tell him “Good dog”. Then let him up and go on walking. This will rapidly teach your dog that when meeting another person, the proper thing to do is to be calm and sit or lie down. And you are being passive during the training so the dog figures it out on his own! This gives you, his trainer, a bit of a break.
Another method is to use a Gentle Leader type head halter. There are several brands of these training aids, and they help tremendously for anti-jumping training. Fitting these training aids properly is very important; we recommend you bring your dog and the training aid you purchased to your vet or dog trainer so they can fit it for you. These devices work by reinforcing your dog’s natural training instincts, and you need to be very gentle when using them. No matter the size of your dog, a gentle but firm pull is all that is needed. Never yank or jerk on the leash when using a Gentle Leader as you can cause your dog to bite his lip or tongue! If you give a firm, steady pull up on the leash, most dogs will sit down (then you need to immediately relax the leash). You can be an active trainer and give your dog the ‘sit’ command (and use the Gentle leader to put your dog in the proper position), or you can simply ignore the dog’s behavior (don’t say anything) and use the Gentle Leader to get the dog to sit. If he bounces up, repeat the pull and get him to sit again. Then ignore him until he is sitting or lying down and relaxed for a few seconds, and give him a quiet “Good dog”. Then start walking again.
You can use these tips at home, too, but you will need to put the leash on your dog and have him in position at the front door with your foot on the leash (or the Gentle Leader on) before you let a visitor in the door, so it can take some pre-planning!
Frequent repetition is the fastest way your dog will learn not to jump up on people, so it will really help speeds things up if you can enlist a friend or two to help you. Have your friend walk around one or two blocks in one direction while you and your dog go the other direction (so you keep meeting). Or, have your friend walk around the block and come to your door, again and again.
Never leave the Gentle leader on your dog; only use it for walks or training sessions.