Teach your puppy a conflicting behavior such as “fetch your ball.” She can’t jump up if she’s running to bring you her ball or favorite toy. Just the name of a special game or toy—“go get your bear!”—can change the dog’s focus and redirect the behavior long enough for you to evade the jumping. With enough repetition, your puppy will begin to associate your home-coming with “go fetch” instead of jumping up.
When your puppy reaches adolescence, he may be unable to control his impulses and start to test limits (just like a human child). Adolescent jumping up can turn into “nose boinking” which can lead to broken glasses or even a bloody nose. Jumping up often combines with mouthing behavior where the pup bites and grabs your hands, clothing or even your derriere in a grabbing game of tag.
Remember, Jumping up can be dangerous as well as annoying. Just as many owners are sued for their jumping dogs as their biting dogs. Young children and elderly people can easily be toppled over and seriously injured by exuberant, friendly dogs. Start now to teach your puppy not to jump up. Even little dogs can cause problems and injury to themselves and others when they jump up.
When your dog has all four paws on the floor, give him attention and praise. If he jumps up at any point, freeze with your arms folded on your chest until he calms down. Instruct guests and all members of your household to consistently ignore jumping. If you have visitors who ignore the no-jumping rules, keep your dog on leash during the visit and gently remove him if he jumps. For anything your dog gets in life, whether it's your attention or a meal, only give the reward when all four paws are on the floor. Jumping up should end all attention and rewards, while remaining fixed on the ground garners all the pleasurable reinforcement a dog desires — treats, petting, play.
4. Use the "Sit" command. This is one of the most basic, and important, commands. As such, if your dog is well trained, he will respond to the Sit command before even thinking to jump. If he does not respond well to the Sit command, then more training is necessary, as this is the foundation for dog obedience training. Train him until he responds to it in everyday situations, such as greeting and going for walks. The better he understands the Sit command, the much less likely he is to ever jump at all.
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
Our inconsistency perpetuates the problem. Some of the time we tolerate the jumping and ignore it. Other times we reward the behavior by exchanging enthusiastic greetings. But when we're dressed up and the puppy's paws are muddy, it's a different story. Reprimanding the puppy for jumping up usually does not work. Either the puppy misunderstands the reprimand as praise or he gets even more excited and the jumping gets worse. If the reprimand is severe enough, the puppy may stop jumping at that moment but it doesn't solve the problem altogether; and it certainly is not a very nice thing to do. It's very similar to a person approaching you with a big smile, arm extended to exchange a hand-shake and you bopping the person in the nose. Even if your puppy learns that jumping up on you is not a good idea, he will usually get away with jumping up on everyone else.
Paying attention to a dog only when all four paws are on the floor can work well, if jumping isn’t well entrenched and if everybody who deals with the dog follows the rules. Unfortunately, much of humanity will get busy undermining you. “I don’t mind your puppy jumping up,” they say, while you tear your hair out. Or they get all disciplinarian, maybe kneeing the dog in the chest. That is not only mean but counterproductive, because dogs often respond by trying to appease. Since humans are usually taller than dogs, reaching our muzzles to lick them involves jumping up.