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Stop a Dog from Jumping on People

I use two different approaches to dealing with this scenario depending on the age and temperament of the dog. To deter dogs from jumping up on people, either get the dog to decide that jumping on people is not to his advantage or give the dog something else to do so that it is impossible for him to jump up.

A dog that has been commanded to “sit” cannot possibly jump up on a person entering the house at the door. If the dog tries to jump up, the owner simply needs to enforce the sitting behavior with a collar and leash. For young dogs and dogs with “soft” personalities, this technique of “giving the dog something else to do” works extremely well to discourage jumping behavior.

If you have a bright, secure, older dog and would like to have some fun, you can actually get your dog to decide not to jump up on people. This technique involves playing a game I call “finders~keepers.”

When your dog jumps on you, gently but securely, take hold of his two front legs. Lift and separate them slightly as you smile and tell him you are very happy to see him and you are excited he put his feet up on you! Continue to hold his front legs up until he becomes upset and tries to take them back. If he attempts to chew his feet free from your hands, pull his feet away from his mouth so he cannot reach them. Continue to use a cheerful, upbeat, excited tone of voice as you tell him what a wonderful dog he is. Allow him to struggle for a few moments.

Your dog will probably become more and more frustrated that he has lost control of his front feet. Finally, let go of his feet and when they are again on the ground, pet and praise him for standing on the floor. The dog will probably think this was a one time act of insanity and attempt to jump again.

When he jumps up yet again, repeat your performance. Next get other members of the family or friends to follow suit anytime your dog puts his feet up on them. In a very short time, your dog will decide that people are unpredictable and jumping on them is not a good idea because you may not get your feet back!

Keep smiling as you watch your dog make a very good decision….not to jump.

Saving the Sport of Obedience Competition
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