How can I stop my dog jumping up?

To answer the questions of “how” we first have to understand “why” is your dog jumping up.

Why is my dog jumping up?

Simply put, jumping up raises height. If your dog is raising their height, they are also raising their status. Showing the person/dog that they are jumping up at, that they are big and important and a force to be reckoned with.  Or that they have the right to help themselves to certain things.

If you watch dogs play, or footage of wolves in the wild, you will see them jumping up at one another. Some will allow themselves to be jumped on, and will ‘submit’ to the jumping – accepting this canine’s place as above them, whereas others will not allow it and will either push aside, or jump back and try to pin the other canine down.

This picture doesn’t show jumping, but it clearly shows that the smaller dog wants to dominate the bigger dog, and the bigger dog is just submitting and accepting it.

Is my dog dominant?

There are two normal human reactions to a dog jumping up at us/someone:

  1. To greet the dog and fuss/cuddle it.
  2. To tell the dog off, and to “get down”

Neither of these is the reaction which is going to stop your dog jumping up.  Here’s why:

  1. You have accepted the dog jumping up at you, and rewarded it for this behaviour.
  2. You have given the dog a reaction for this behaviour, confirming to them that raising their height is a good way to get attention from you on their terms.

In either case, you have shown your dog that they are higher than you in the hierarchy, and therefore they will continue to enforce that position by jumping up!

Look at these two raising their height…!

disobedient dogs on table

So the next question to answer is…

How to stop your dog jumping up…

This answer only applies to what to do when they actually do jump up.  There are a few other things that you can also do to help, but to list and explain everything is simply too much to put into one blog post.  Ultimately these things involve showing your dog that he/she isn’t the boss, in a way that they totally understand.

I’m going to break down this question into answers that are relevant to the situation:

…at you

This happens when your dog is in an overwhelmed state, mainly when you have just got in, or just got up in the morning.  So you should:

  • Ignore all of their attempts for your attention, until they settle down.
  • If they jump up gentle push them back down, but don’t say anything or make eye contact.
  • If the jumping is relentless and painful for you, calmly remove the dog from the room for 5 minutes before trying again from the top.

It may take a few days of doing this before you see results.

… onto your furniture/kitchen sides

If you aren’t in the room there isn’t a lot you can do, but if you are, follow this advice:

  • Calmly put them back down on the floor again, without speaking or making eye contact.
  • Ignore all other attempts for attention until they relax.
  • If it gets too much, calmly put them out of the room until they are quiet and then try again.

Again, results take time to show, so keep persevering until they do.

… at visitors

  • When you open the front door to your visitors, your dogs shouldn’t be with you, as they will believe that they are there to establish who it is and what their place is in the pack. So if you don’t want your dog jumping up at them, then have them popped out of the way in another room.
  • Let your visitors in and brief them to ignore the dogs when you let them out.
  • All of you follow the instructions as per “at you” once they dogs have been let out (i.e. ignore all of their attempts for attention, and so on)

For all of these situations you need to remain calm, and just deal with the jumping in a really matter of fact way.  If they get any kind of reaction other than just calmly being removed, they will continue to do it – either right there and then, or the next time this situation presents itself.

Like children, dogs need solid boundaries which are put in place and stuck to consistently.  Chances are if your dog is jumping up, there are a few other training issues you could do with help with!  Please get in touch to see if you are in my area and I can help you.  I cover all of Essex and the surrounding counties, and I can help with any dog behaviour problem and basic training need.

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