Jumping up is a natural behaviour but not acceptable in our world. Read how to change this for something more acceptable.

The Right Paw Method for Jumping Up


Dogs jump at people, they can't help themselves.

They want to greet us with licks to the face and kisses as they would when they greet a respected doggy friend but in our culture and society a dog that jumps up at people is not acceptable.

There is still the ridiculous myth that a dog that jumps up is doing so to dominate its owner. This is not the case at all, they are trying to offer appeasement gestures of licking the lips and also to illicit attention. It has nothing to do with dominance, more lack of guidance and manners.

Our first instinct is to push the dog away  and chastise them for jumping up but all this does is cause confusion and increase the behaviour. What we need to do is teach our dogs that having 4 paws on the floor is the only way they will receive attention so this is what we need to reward and train our dogs to do when they meet new people.

We don't do this by pushing the dog off, yanking on the lead or kneeing them in the chest, we do this by replacing the undesirable behaviour of jumping up with a nice steady sit. You can do this by waiting until they offer the right behaviour and rewarding it with affection and food treats if they are keen jumpers but we don't want to be adding a cue for jumping up which most people do by telling the dogs 'no' or 'off' and not giving the dog something better to do.

It is of course easier with smaller dogs than larger dogs because of the weight advantage but smaller dogs are usually the ones that jump up the most. With smaller dogs we are less inclined to deal with the issue because of the cuteness factor but if you are out and about and your dog, no matter how small, and the jump up at someone to say hello, they won't be pleased.

You need to teach your puppy or dog what you want them to do instead of jumping up, if you replace the jumping up with a new behaviour such as sit to say hello then the dog can't jump up. Timing is everything and I don't hold with turning your back on the dog to stop the jumping up, all this does is increase the behaviour as they want to get our attention, lick our face and generally appease us in this manner, if you turn your back they will only become more intense.

If you watch a pup licking around the lips and face of an older dog, the older dog doesn't turn away or do anything except avoid eye contact and move their head out of the way. Once the pup stops the licking and relaxes then the older dog will sniff and engage with the pup.

We need to mimic this by totally ignoring jumping up, no eye contact, no verbal command and definitely no touching. So when the dog jumps up at you, just stand still and look at a point above their head, the moment they have four on the floor ask for a sit and then bending at the knees lower yourself in to offer a stroke to the chest and maybe a treat to reinforce the behaviour.

With larger dogs, it is easier to see them coming, so taking a small step back as they start the jump up means they don't make contact and you can immediately ask for a sit.

As with teaching any behaviour, consistency is key and you need to be sure that the dog is not being reinforced by other members of the family who might be telling the dog 'off' or pushing them away. 

Just remember, if your dogs bum is on the floor then their brain is in gear and they are less likely to jump up. They are not dominating anyone, just trying to get your attention so teach them something more acceptable to deal with the problem. J

Jo Crosby-Deakin



07776 334481