Puppy Problems – Part II – How to Stop Puppy Jumping

Stop Puppy Jumping

This is the second blog in our series to address the challenges we face with our cute puppies during their maturation process.  In this blog, we offer 4 methods to stop puppy jumping.

Puppy jumping is adorable, but soon it becomes one of the most annoying, bordering on rude, dog behaviors.  It is important to control this behavior early on before the dog becomes a juvenile delinquent –bruising, scratching, or knocking you or your neighbors down when they launch and plow into others.

What Do we Mean By Puppy Jumping?

Puppies don’t mean to be rude or mean when they jump.  Jumping is their way of playing when excited, a way to get closer to our faces and find out what’s going on there.  When they are puppies, we interpret the behavior as “love.”  When they are adult dogs, we are just annoyed or even scared.

Here are a few common scenarios when puppies naturally are inclined to jump:

  • Home comings and departures – Jumping up on you and other people to greet you or guests at the door or to stop you from leaving.
  • Saying hello – Jumping on people in the elevator when you are taking them out in a condo building, or in the park when they see or hear someone who shows them affection.
  • Jumping enthusiastically and exuberantly grabbing at treats.

Puppy jumping should not be encouraged at any time and proper impulse control needs to be taught before the dog reaches adolescence, where jumping up combines with mouthing behavior, and your puppy grabs or bites your hands, clothing or other parts of you.

Most training techniques are based on the principle of rewarding the desired behavior with affection or treats and withdrawing the reward when the undesired behavior occurs.

Here are 4 proven techniques that are sure to nip puppy jumping in the bud.

Jumping Control Method 1 – Door training 

The key to stop puppy jumping at the door is to draw on a conflicting behavior, such as “sit/stay.”  This requires that you and the pup master the key command during calm moments first, then ask for the behavior when you come or go.  Your guests will appreciate this so that they don’t have to deal with your dog leaping at them at the door every time they visit.

Practice coming in the door and teaching calm greetings. When you come home and the dog jumps at you, “punish” the behavior by walking away/turning back and waiting a few seconds.  Walk back to calmly greet her.  Reward her with your presence or treats for not jumping.  Do this multiple times until she no longer jumps. This requires that you keep treats at your side when you come home until the behavior of calm greeting is learned by you and your pup.

Jumping Control Method 2 – Sitting on a Leash 

Sitting on a leash is an effective approach to teach manners to your dog.  You simply clip a loose leash on the dog and you put your foot on the leash while you request the sit command.

You can use the sit on a leash method to train calm greeting when strangers come to your house, in the elevator, or at the park when a familiar person approaches.  First, ask your friend to wait until your dog asks for permission to greet them.  Next, you simply stand next to the dog with your foot on the leash waiting for them to sit and make eye contact with you.  This is their way of asking permission, and you will have to be patient.  When they are calm and collected and look at you, then you ask them if they want to say “hi” politely. You may need to coach the human to greet calmly and avoid reinforcing jumping behavior.

Jumping Control Method 3 – Tethering 

 Tethering is a great technique to teach a puppy space management and can be sued effectively to stop puppy jumping.  You’ll need a leash and a heavy piece of furniture, a door, or a fence.  To tether, take the handle of the leash and loop it under the leg of your chosen piece of heavy furniture.  Then attach the clip to your dog’s collar.  Make sure the furniture piece you choose cannot fall on top of your dog, doesn’t have a bunch of objects on it that can fall on your dog, and won’t move if your dog pulls.  And, don’t leave your dog unattended or alone while tethered.

To use tethering to control jumping simply follow these steps:

  • Tether and walk past the dog
  • “Punish” by walking away/turning and withdrawing affection back if he jumps
  • Reward with treats for not jumping
  • Always remain calm and low key while training

Use this technique multiple times a day at home or outside and try adding distractions, like approaching people, to master the desired behavior.

Jumping Control Method 4 – Tiring your Pup Out 

  • Similar to puppy nipping blog, a tired dog is a dog that is not hyperactive.
  • Walks, play, catch, dance, find, and other activities give them plenty of exercise and help them burn energy.

Summary – Prevention is the Best Cure for Puppy Jumping 

Believe it or not, if you are serious about it, you can actually stop puppy jumping in its track before it even begins on day 1.  The best way to do that is through prevention, which is a counterintuitive behavior when you just get a puppy.  You do this by following the “no touch, no talk, no eye contact rule” whenever you first greet your puppy.

Finally, avoid inadvertently rewarding your puppy for jumping by petting him or having strangers pet him when he jumps.

Sometimes you may need additional expertise to stop puppy jumping and other behaviors or to teach proper obedience.  K9U offers a menu of training classes addressing a variety of puppy or dog training and behavioral management needs.  Check out the K9U Puppy Training class to get yourself and your puppy started on the right track.