By Laura Dorfman, CPDT-KA
Dogs jump when they are excited.
Dogs jump when they are high energy.
Dogs jump when they are happy.
Dogs jump for years because their jumping gets reinforced.
Dogs jump because they are excellent jumpers.
Dogs jump to get closer to the good stuff.
The good stuff is you: your face, your hands, your voice, and your eyes.
If your dog is a jumper, this article can help you on your way to “four on the floor”. If your dog jumps on you, your friends, or, even worse, your fragile Aunt Tilly, then this is for you.
Jumping at the Front Door
When your dog jumps, turn your back to her and don’t look at her or speak. Ignore her until all four paws hit the floor, and then turn toward her, bend and praise. If she is clicker trained, click or give her a treat as soon as all four paws hit the floor, or better yet, before she jumps. She will quickly learn that good things happen when all four paws are on the floor. It’s important to immediately praise her for when she does hit the floor or before she jumps.
A dog who really needs to connect may have a hard time with this training so use this next exercise to prepare her.
Have someone hold your dog on a leash. Start about ten feet away and move slowly towards you dog. As soon as your dog stands or jumps, stop moving until your dog sits again. This will show your dog that a greeting happens when she is sitting and that jumping causes good things to stop.
There are several variations on these exercises that may be more appropriate for your situation and dog. For more suggestions, take a look at The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller or The Other End of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnell.
The longer your dog has been jumping, the longer it will take to train her to stop.
Good luck and gentle teachings.