How To Stop Puppies Jumping Up On People.
I think most puppies go through a “jumping up” phase. It can be quite a challenge to stop the behaviour, but if we understand what is underlying it, it can help us to work through the best way to manage it.
When puppies are born, they are normally born with several litter mates. This means they are used to climbing on other puppies from the time they’re born, and they learn that jumping on their siblings is a great way to start a game.
When puppies start interacting with people, they try to replicate the same behaviour to start a game. They jump up to get our attention, and it normally works – we start to play with them. In the process of doing this we inadvertently reinforce the behaviour, and it becomes confusing for the puppy if we let them jump up some times but tell them off at others.
To a young, very excited puppy, negative attention is often better than no attention. If we remember that jumping up is designed to get our attention, we begin to understand that telling the puppy off is potentially giving them what they want.
The best way to stop a puppy from jumping is to withdraw attention. We recommend pulling your arms in to your body and turning away from the puppy. In dog body language, this is a very strong message that jumping up isn’t appropriate. Once the puppy settles, give it a simple command like sit (every dog should start learning this as soon as they arrive). Once it is sitting, you can then give it a pat and some attention. By doing this, you’ll teach the dog that jumping up will be ignored while good behaviour such as sitting will get a reward.
This is a very important technique to teach children. Often when dogs jump on kids they will squeal and flap their arms. To an excited puppy, this can be easily confused as play behaviour which encourages them to jump and become more boisterous. By teaching kids to pull in their arms and turn calmly around, you give them an important tool to avoid being jumped on or even bitten by a dog.
For more helpful tips on puppy training, get our FREE New Dog Guide Book, available HERE.