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  • Liz MacHaffie

Jumping

Updated: Jul 6


Help your dog learn not to jump on people with these simple steps!

Teach Your Dog To Ask Politely for Attention or Toys

  • What do you want your dog to do instead of jumping? Train them to do that instead!

  • We usually recommend teaching your dog to sit automatically as a way to ask for what they want. This lets them communicate politely instead of jumping (or barking...or mouthing...)

  • See “Saying Please” for a reminder of how to teach this.

Take Away Attention for Jumping​

  • We can teach our dogs that jumping makes us really boring and makes all the fun things stop!

  • Dogs tend to connect things that happen close together in time. This is why we want to avoid immediately giving our pup attention when she jumps

  • If we look at, talk to, or touch her, she can learn that jumping on people gets her exactly what she wants: attention!

  • Choose a neutral phrase like “ uh oh” or “oops” to use when your dog makes a mistake.

  • Anytime your dog jumps on you, say “uh oh” and then give her a short social time out. This means ignoring her completely for 5 to 10 seconds. Avoid talking to, looking at, or touching your puppy.

  • This is easier said than done! If your puppy continues to jump, calmly exit the situation by stepping over a baby gate, into a puppy pen, or through a door. This is a great time to use your Success Station! For small dogs, you can also step into a storage bin! Your goal is to take away the reward of getting to touch or interact with you.

  • Once the 5 to 10 seconds are up, as long as she's calm, interact with your puppy again!

  • Jumping is a normal puppy and teenager behavior, so consistency among all family members goes a long way in getting success! Your puppy should get feedback every time she jumps on you, the first time she does. (Each jump that we let happen is a potential reward for jumping!)

  • Remember, it's normal for young puppies and teenagers to jump! Our goal is to minimize how much they jump and reward them for sitting or politely greeting people! When they grow up, they'll be much more successful at not jumping on people.

"What does my dog need?"

  • This is an important question to ask when your pup gets jumpy!

  • Most puppies are jumping to communicate: "I want attention!" "I'm hungry!" "I need to go to the bathroom!", or "I'm so excited I can't contain myself!".

  • When your puppy gets jumpy, ask yourself:

  • Does she need to go to the bathroom? (Take her out.)

  • Could she be hungry? (Give her a snack.)

  • Is she overtired?​ (Give her a nap, see below.)

  • Does she need playtime? (Put this on pause and go play!)

  • Is she overexcited? (Move her further away from the exciting thing so that she can stop jumping OR just accept that she's going to go wild and let her jump. She's a puppy!)

  • If you suspect your pup is overtired, help her nap by putting her in her pen or crate.

  • Young puppies should be sleeping at least 16 hours a day! Aim for a schedule during the day where your pup is awake for an hour and then resting or napping for 2 to 3 hours. (Once your pup is 3-4 months old, you can start to extend how long she's awake for, but naps will still be very important!)

Play Jumping Games to Speed Up Learning

  • The Jumping Challenge with Food

  • You can use this to help your puppy develop self-control when she’d normally want to jump! These sessions should be done once or twice a day for just a minute or two. Here’s how to play this learning game:|

  • Start by tempting your puppy to jump by holding a kibble or treat above her head.

  • If your pup does not jump after just a second or two, praise and give her the treat.

  • If she does jump, quietly and quickly withdraw the treat until she settles. You can also ignore her briefly.

  • Once she is successful 3 times in a row or 4 out of 5 times, you can make it more exciting. Move the treat closer to her, move it around, and/or start talking. Use the same rules as above.

  • Your goal is not to tease your dog, but to teach her a very clear, black-and-white rule: No matter what’s happening or how exciting it is, jumping doesn’t get you anything.

  • This game can (and should) also be played with attention or toys as temptations and rewards!

Tips & Troubleshooting

  • Young kids and guests may need your help. (It’s really hard to train guests!)

  • For times when your pup is interacting with them, have her on a leash. When she jumps on them, you say “uh oh” and gently remove her a few feet from the person. Wait 5 seconds. If you have a calm dog, you can let her greet again. If she's not calm, give her more space or ask her to

  • In this way, you are still taking away her reward and the other person didn’t have to do a thing!

  • Once she’s a pro at not jumping when she’s on leash, you can start to have her off leash.

  • See the page on Jumping on Guests and Strangers for more tips!

  • It's normal for puppies to jump on people throughout their puppyhood and teenagerhood. Our goal is to minimize how often it happens and teach them that sitting and playing with toys are the appropriate ways to interact with people. When they grow up, they'll be much more successful at not jumping on people.

  • If your dog is not as successful as you think they should be, contact us! We can only help you if we know you need help :)

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