Does this sound familiar? The doorbell rings, your dog barks, you open the door to let your friend inside and your dog proceeds to greet your friend by jumping up on them?
How embarrassing! You are yelling at your dog to stop jumping when you should be providing a warm welcome to your friend. Your friend may love dogs, but nobody likes to be jumped on or even worse knocked over by a big dog… I know I don’t.
Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to open your front door and your dogs calmly join you in welcoming your guests?
An out-of-control, jumping dog can become very dangerous. He can knock over a child or elderly person, seriously hurting them.
For me, with three kids, we have people coming in and out of the house frequently, and having two large dogs jump on their friends is not an option.
I dreaded every time the postman or UPS guy would ring the doorbell. Both my dogs would go nuts barking jumping at the window, and when I tried to open the door they both would try and push their way through. I think the postman probably dreaded ringing my bell just as much as I did!
One day, I decided that was enough! It was so stressful just to receive a package. So I started teaching my dogs the place command.
As soon as the doorbell rings, I tell them PLACE, and they must go to their dog beds until I release them. Wow, what a difference it has made. Not only does this work for the postman, but when my kids have friends come over or when family visits.
Some trainers will instruct you to turn away when your dog is jumping, and while I do include it as option 2, the best advice I’ve received is to MOVE TOWARD the dog.
I know this may sound crazy, but if you move away then your dog is thinking this is a game. You move back, dog jumps, you move back, dog jumps.
Move into their space and they can’t jump anymore, they lose their balance and quickly learn that this is your space and jumping is not an option.
Many positive only trainers will tell you the only humane way to stop a dog from jumping on people is to turn away. But turning your back to a large jumping dog can result in injury.
I recommend eliminating the activities that are rewarding for your dog’s jumping. Do not look at him, do not touch him, do not talk to him. You must completely ignore your dog. Any attention is rewarding for him, so even talking to him gives him reason to jump.
Your dog is jumping to get your attention, and if you give him any attention at all, he will assume jumping = attention.
When you come home from work or shopping, ignore your dog until he calms down. Do not talk, look or pet your dog until he is calm and not jumping.
It’s also important to be patient, your dog is going to try and try to get your attention, jumping may turn into nudging or other behaviors. Be consistent and you will start to notice the behaviors diminish.
It can be more difficult to instruct someone you don’t know to ignore your dog. So step three for stoping your dog from jumping up on strangers is also important:
You love your dog, he is your family and you'd do anything for him, right? Then you owe it to him to learn his language.
The place command is valuable in so many ways, I personally use this with our dogs anytime someone rings the doorbell.
The place command is simply teaching your dog to go to a particular spot (a mat, dog bed, carpet) on command. Your dog should stay in his place until he is released by you. Do not release him from his place until he is completely calm.
Our dog Bear even surprised me one day by going to his “place” even without me asking! He heard the UPS truck pull up to our house, he walked himself right over to his place and layed down! I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was in shock. We do practice the place command daily, sometimes several times a day, so it makes sense that Bear would connect UPS man to Place command.
[Related: Learn Why You Need to Teach the PLACE Command to Your Dog and the steps on how to do teach him Place.]
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If you’ve tried ignoring your dogs jumping and it’s not working for you. Or if your dog is stubborn and still want’s to push your buttons, then you need to correct your dog for jumping. There are two ways I recommend correcting your dog from jumping on people:
First option is kneeing your dog anytime he jumps on you. This is pretty simple, just lifte your leg so your knee goes into the dogs chest. Add the command NO at the same time your knee goes into your dog. Again, it is important to be consistent, don’t allow your dog to jump anytime on anyone.
The second option is a quick correction using a prong collar. Many people may be afraid of the prong collar, but it can be a useful training tool. Please read more about the good, bad and the ugly about the prong collar.
I’ve pulled this video from a balanced dog trainer, SolidK9Training, explaining and showing the proper technique.
Ask yourself, is it better to give up on your dog and surrender him to a shelter and he eventually is euthanized? Or give your dog a super quick correction and continue to live a long happy life with you?
[Related: If you need help training your dog, you may also want to read How to Find the Perfect Dog Trainer.]
Products that may help you train your dog not to jump:
It is important to start teaching your dog not to jump even if he is still a puppy. It may be cute when a little puppy jumps to get your attention, but that puppy will grow up quickly. Soon you will have an adult dog, big or small, jumping on you. So start early. By teaching your puppy not to jump using the theory of jumping equals no attention, you will avoid having to correct his behavior as an adult.
I’d love to hear how you have been able to stop your dog from jumping. Comment below and share with the Rescue Dogs 101 Community.
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.