Bringing home a new puppy is a fun time for the whole family. Puppy play time, puppy cuddles, puppy breath, and plenty of photographable moments to share on social media abound. However, puppyhood is also a time when many bad behaviors arise. In this series, common puppy behavioral problems will be presented, as well as how to overcome them. Today, how to stop a puppy from jumping on people will be discussed.
Why do Puppies Jump?
Before you can understand how to stop puppy misbehavior, you should first understand why it occurs in the first place. Most commonly, puppies jump on people because the behavior was positively reinforced at some point. For instance, perhaps your tiny puppy jumped on your leg, which caused you to bend over, pick up him or her, and shower your dog with attention. Even if this exact scenario did not occur, your puppy has likely learned that jumping is a way to receive attention, either positive or negative.
Four on the Floor
To prevent jumping, only give your dog attention when he or she has “four on the floor,” meaning all four paws are on the ground.
The best way to promote four on the floor is with a counter behavior, such as asking your dog to sit or lie down. Identify times your puppy is most prone to jumping, such as when you first walk through the door and be prepared with a treat in order to ask your puppy to sit down instead. Over time, your dog will become conditioned to realize that sitting at the door provides a reward.
If your puppy is having difficulty learning the counter command, an alternative method is to simply walk away. As soon as your puppy makes contact with your legs, turn around and give your dog no attention at all. This method removes the reward (your attention) and will teach your dog that jumping does not result in the desired outcome.
Overall, it is important to be consistent. It can be confusing for your puppy if jumping is rewarded in some instances, such as when you are relaxing on the couch, but punished in other scenarios. Make sure everyone in the house follows the same rules, as your puppy’s learning will be delayed if even one person allows the jumping to continue.
If you enjoy learning about puppy behaviors, subscribe to our newsletter! Next week, puppy biting and mouthing will be discussed. Sign up now to receive the rest of the series in your inbox, as well as other interesting articles.
Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy™ blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In the case of emergency, always seek qualified health care from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy™ blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.