Keeping Four Paws on the Ground/h4>

Keeping Four Paws on the Ground

Jumping up on people is a natural behaviour for all puppies and dogs. They want to get closer to us to get our attention. It is very hard to resist rewarding a dog for this behaviour by giving him that attention, especially a cute little puppy. But when you do, you are reinforcing the jumping behaviour. Now you have a puppy or dog who thinks jumping up is good behaviour. But a jumping dog can be very annoying or even dangerous. On the annoying side, you’ll have a dog who feels perfectly fine wiping his muddy paws all over on your clean pants (or shirt, if he is a large dog!); at the dangerous end of the spectrum, you have a dog who will jump up on toddlers, the elderly, or anyone else he feels like greeting exuberantly.

When it comes to jumping up, prevention is always the best medicine. As expert dog trainer Brian Kilcommons says, “Don’t encourage your puppy to do anything you don’t want your adult dog to do.” Begin training your pup not to jump up as soon as you can; however, if it’s too late for prevention, the following strategies work with both puppies and adult dogs.

When your puppy or dog jumps up on you (or your legs when you are sitting down) you must resist the urge to interact with the puppy in any way. Pull your arms in against your body, then stay still and ignore him completely. Don’t speak or look at him. If you are standing, you can even turn away from him and then stay still. When your dog has backed off, immediately reward him with attention and treats. Many trainers refer to this as teaching the dog that he must keep all four paws on the ground if he wants your attention.

If your dog gets excited at the praise and starts jumping up again, repeat the ignoring technique, but tone down the excitement of your praise. Pet him calmly or keep giving treats for as long as he keeps all four paws on the ground.

If your dog persists in jumping on you even if you are ignoring him, try the following technique. Take a few quick steps forward so that he has to back up to get out of your way. He will have to put all four paws on the ground to do this, and when he does, immediately but calmly praise him or give him treats. Then stand up and walk away. If he starts jumping up again, repeat the ignoring technique above. If needed, add in the quick steps forward to force him back down.

Training your dog or puppy not to jump up is even easier if he is already master of the “sit” command and – wonder of wonders — gives you the ability to stop your dog from jumping up on other people! If he jumps up on someone, say “sit” in a calm and commanding tone. As soon as he sits, reward him with treats and praise. Repeat as needed and soon you’ll feel like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty singing “I’ve got the Power”!

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