How many times have you visited a friend or family and been met at the door not by a human member of the family, but by the four-legged welcome wagon? If you are a dog person, this is actually a treat – most of us love an exuberant, tail whipping, happy greeting! In fact, some of us may even prefer it to the two legged, less enthusiastic greeting that follows. However, no one likes it when the dog jumps on him or her.
Even worse, have you ever been at the park and the wettest, muddiest, most slobbery dog decides they want to give you a kiss? Sweet? Friendly dogs are always fun to watch but the wet muddy, slobbery mess is just plain gross!
Do you want your puppy to be labeled as one of these obnoxious dogs that no one wants to greet? Easy answer - no one wants that! Then start right away with these easy steps to train your puppy not to jump on you, and everyone around you!
How Young is too Young to Start Training a Puppy not to Jump on You?
It is never too early to start training a puppy not to jump on you – the early the better actually! Think about how we interact with a six, seven, or eight week old puppy: the pup runs up to us, we bend over, the pup jumps up and puts their paws on our knees, and we welcome their actions because we do not have to bend over as far. We pat them, we love them up, we encourage them to keep their paws on us, and we praise their actions. What have we done? We have taught a puppy at its most formative age that jumping up on humans is okay and even welcomed.
Now, the pup is four or five months and growing like a weed. All of a sudden we do not have to bend over at all to pet him, even when he keeps all four paws on the ground. However, he doesn’t know that and still continues to jump on us when he greets us. Instead of being welcomed, he is now being shunned or gets a knee in the chest for his enthusiasm. Confusing? You bet!
Jumping up on the alpha male or female is actually an immature puppy behavior that a dog within a pack would naturally outgrow. However, because we encourage the pup to continue, it actually becomes a learned behavior in an attempt to please the alpha leader.
Obviously you cannot control what the breeder of your new puppy does or what behavior they may inadvertently encourage. But as soon as you begin to interact with your pup, even before you bring your new baby home, practice discouraging and training your puppy not to jump on you – it will make it so much easier as the pup grows!
The Best Way to Discourage and Begin Re-training a Puppy not to Jump on You
Your new puppy is home and by its behavior, no one has yet to discourage him jumping up on humans. This is not a problem, don’t worry, he will learn to keep all four paws on the ground!
Now where you begin to retrain this immature behavior is to behave more like a typical alpha leader. Body language is everything with animals and learning to mimic various behaviors can substantially speed up the learning process. As a pup matures within the pack, immature actions and behaviors are discouraged by many types of body language ways – ‘body blocks’ being one of the most common.
A ‘body block’ are a series of movements depending on what the pup is doing that needs to be discouraged. In the case of training a puppy not to jump on you or others, there are two types: the ‘walk away’ and the ‘walk into’.
The ‘walk away’ body block is simply turning and walking away from the pup when it jumps up onto you. This works well with young pups who are still learning coordination and you do not want to send them flying, just tell them in a language they understand that the behavior is inappropriate. For a young pup, simply being ignored is enough of a lesson – no need to knock them on their butts.
The ‘walk into’ works better with older pups that have proven resistant to growing up. This is not a violent or fast movement that is designed to cause fear, pain, or even discomfort. This is just the action of simply walking through the pup as it jumps on you as if he did not even exist. He will jump down to either side of you or plop onto his bottom – do no pain, no fear, just plain being ignored. Nothing violent.
Stopping the Behavior before it Happens
With any bad behavior, the best time to stop it is while the pup is thinking about it but BEFORE he begins the action. In the case of a puppy jumping up on you, this works once he understands the word ‘no’ or the ‘eh eh eh’ noise, and that jumping up is not an encouraged action. Learn his movements and watch – is he running up to you with that jumping look in his eye? Before he reaches you, use a firm ‘Fido, no jump’ or ‘eh eh eh’ noise and be prepared to either ‘walk away’ or ‘walk into’ body block.
Training a puppy not to jump on you is an easy process if you start at a young age and stay consistent. Keep everyone in the house on the same plan and make sure visitors know not to encourage the behavior as well.