Jumping up on people is a natural canine behavior, but the enthusiasm our pups have to greet everyone they come into contact with isn’t always welcome. From dressy clothes getting ruined by muddy paws to children and seniors getting knocked over, having our dogs jump up can be both annoying and dangerous.
Dogs repeat behaviors that earn them rewards, so if your pup knows that jumping up on you is going to get them attention and possibly hurry you along when it comes to dishing them up some of the best dog food, then they’ll continue to repeat the action.
Thankfully, top dog trainer Adam Spivey (opens in new tab) has a simple trick you can use to help put a stop to jumping once and for all. Founder of Southend Dog Training (opens in new tab), a worldwide team dedicated to helping owners with their dogs, Spivey says picking yourself up a grab handle lead is the key to success.
“That’s a lead that is literally just a handle and a clip that the dog wears around on its collar,” he explains in the Instagram video, which you can view in its entirety below.
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“Every single time you give your dog affection, i.e., stroking your dog, ask it to sit first,” Spivey advises. “What this is going to do is teach your dog that sitting is what gets them stroked or what gets them a fuss.”
Instead of your dog jumping up for affection, Spivey says it’s important they learn that sitting is the behavior that gets them what they want.
“If you start stroking your dog and it jumps up, remove your attention. If the jumping gets too much, take hold of that lead, say nothing to your dog, just hold that lead until the dog calms, ask the dog to sit, then go to stroking it again.”
With the holiday season underway, Spivey’s technique could prove a real lifesaver if you have family and friends visiting over Christmas.
“The grab handle lead will also help when guests come round,” he says. “Dog’s going to the door, you pick up that grab handle lead, put the dog behind you, get your guests to ignore the dog and when your dog is calm, your guests can interact with the dog calmly but get them to ask the dog to sit first.”
Remember, training your dog in a new behavior takes time, patience and consistency. If, after two to three months you notice no change in your dog jumping up, we recommend enlisting the support of a professional dog trainer who can offer you and your pup some 1:1 support.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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