How to stop your dog from jumping

by Brian DeMartino

So you walk in the door from a long day at work and instead of getting greeted in a polite way your dog runs over and jumps up on you no matter what you have tried to stop it from happening.

To stop your dog from jumping on you, you’r family, and anyone that comes in is done in the same way that you’r dog learned that it was okay to jump.

So how did it start and how do you stop it?

Dogs learn by whatever it is that they do at that moment and then how you respond to what they did. In this situation when your dog was younger and smaller and she would come over and jump on you or crawl up on top of you to cuddle and you would without realizing it say good girl, pet your dog, talk to her, and or show attention to her at that moment. Because our love, attention, and affection is a reward to our dogs, when we add that in to what they are doing at that moment which was when she was jumping on you then we are what’s called nurturing or reinforcing that behavior at that moment.

Nurturing or reinforcing means that our dog will continue to do that behavior or command because they received a reward which was the attention. When I walk into clients homes I watch them do that and the owner is not even aware of it because it has now become habitual from the owner to their dog. As we are talking for the first time their dog is jumping all over them and at the same time they are petting and talking to there dog rewarding what they are at the same time telling me they want to stop.

Now that you have a better understanding of how the jumping started and why it stays that way here are a few ways to stop it.

1. Keep a small bag of dog treats in your car and when you walk in the door do not say anything to your dog.. otherwise you are sharing excitement.. Before you walk in have a treat in your hand and when your dog comes running over or as soon as she starts to jump, just place the treat by her nose and calmly tell her to sit.. Once she sits give her the treat, but do not get excited on the outside.. repeat the step with rewarding her with a treat every time she goes to jump back on you. You can even toss one away from you on the floor so she runs away from you and gets the treat.. I get asked a lot, well is that rewarding the dog for jumping? No we are redirecting the dog to sit or move away and when the do then that is what we are rewarding. This needs to be done consistently in order for your dog to learn to eventually do that without a treat reward just as it was done consistently when the behavior was learned.

Once she sits say “good” and give her a treat

2. Once you walk in the door just ignore your dog which means, no talking, no petting, no and no eye contact from you. You just stay calm, relaxed and let her go through the jumping phase but you continue to walk in and own your space. Once she finally calms down then pet her but stay calm without talking too much because the talking can trigger the excitement and jumping to start again. Show attention like you would when greeting a horse, you pet the horse very calmly, and your energy is very calm when you approach and show attention to a horse. Same way once your dog calms down so you set the example for her on how the energy between the two of you should be during greeting. Same as in the first way you have to be very consistent in order for her to learn that when she is calm and not jumping is when she will receive the reward which in this way is your attention and affection.

3. Last one is for when someone coming in your home that your dog jumps all over. A lot of dog owners use the leash only to walk their dog, but the leash is great to use in situations like this because you now have a way to keep your dog by you while you use the treats to redirect your dogs over excitement which leads to the jumping. Same as in step one, use the treat by your dogs nose to lure her to focus up on you and tell her to sit in a calm but motivational way and now she is learning through repetition that if she stays engaged on you and sits then she gets paid for that.

Use the leash to stop the initial reaction for the dog to run to the door, then use treats.

When using treats to train our dogs we want to use a treat that is of high value to them. So put in some time and find which type of treats your dog really likes. The higher value treat the better response and the harder your dog will work to get that reward, same as us when getting paid at our job. They now make freeze dried dog treats that are 100% real chicken or fish with no other ingredients or additives in them. Very healthy and high value to use for training.

Great healthy high value treat!

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