Tails from a Dog Trainer – Jumping Puppies
One of the most common questions I’m asked (particularly from puppy owners) is “how do I stop them jumping up at me?” It’s a behaviour that becomes more difficult to address the longer it is rehearsed, however the answer often lies at the hands (quite literally) of the person they are greeting.
Puppies, like children, crave your attention. You are their food provider, their caregiver and their best friend. There are three ways we can give a puppy our attention 1) look at them, 2) touch them or 3) talk to them. If one or all of those things happen when jumping up occurs then the puppy is likely to repeat the behaviour, after all, they wanted your attention and they got it!
Once we know that, we must then look at our response to a puppy jumping up. As owners, there’s nothing better than being greeting by a beautiful puppy bounding down the hallway to you after a hard day at work, but they don’t understand it’s ok to jump up at you but not the stranger in the park, or the postman, or the children in the playground. In addition, there are times when we don’t want our puppy to jump up at us, and our natural reaction is often to push them away (touch), scold them (talk) all whilst looking at them (look), hmm…I think we see the problem here.
For that reason, as owners we need to be mindful of the mixed messages we sometimes give to our puppies. Puppies grow up, but rehearsed behaviours become habits and before you know it’s a much bigger dog greeting you in the hallway! It’s much safer to teach your puppy a calm greeting “four paws (on the floor)” and then train ourselves to ignore the puppy when entering until we see the puppy on all four paws. Don’t forget to lower yourself to their level before stroking/praising – if those hands come down from above, puppy will jump to greet!
P.S – It’s the same guidance for older dogs, it may just take longer to break the habit – for both dog and owner!
Louise Burton IMDT
Vet recommended puppy and dog training services
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