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Help! My Dog is Constantly Jumping Up

This is one of the most commonly complained-about problems from dog owners.

Why do dogs jump up? They do it to greet us, and more importantly they do it because we humans have taught them that it’s OK to do so! How many of us can resist a cute little puppy climbing up our legs? We pet them, pick them up and cuddle them, and make them feel great. But what is the pup learning from this? They're learning that scratching at and climbing up your legs is how they get humans to give them attention!

The easiest way to stop a dog jumping up on us is to not teach it to him in the first place! Don’t give your pup attention when they climb up your leg! Instead, wait for them to place all four feet on the floor, then give them all the attention they want! Better still, wait for them to sit, and then give them lots of attention!

What about a confirmed Jumper Upper?

For a dog that is already a confirmed jumper-upper, you have to be a little more patient. First of all, teach your dog a reliable sit cue: It is good practice to get pups into the habit of sitting whenever we are about to reward them in any way. Get them to sit for a treat, sit before you put their food bowl down, sit before you put their lead on, sit before you open the door to allow them a romp around the garden, sit before you invite them up on your lap… anything your dog enjoys doing, ask them to sit before they get it.

Now, when your jumping dog jumps up on you, ignore them. They may climb all over you, but if you don’t react, they will eventually calm down, perhaps somewhat confused. Now ask them to sit. As soon as they sit, give them all that attention they were looking for! If they get excited and jump up again, go back to ignoring them, until they sit again. Dogs are not fools: they are very quick to figure out what “works” for them. Instead of allowing a dog think that jumping up on us “works”, we teach them that jumping up does not “work” any more… but sitting down does! Be patient and consistent with this, every time you walk into the room, wait for your dog to sit before greeting them. It won’t take long before they act more appropriately when you walk into the room. Once they are behaving for you, start to practice with others in the family, and friends, visitors etc.

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