As excited as your dog might be to see you or other people, it’s likely that you won’t want them jumping up. It’s something that at best could be a minor annoyance – we’re all familiar with those muddy paws, after all – but that at worst could be dangerous, if they jump on someone who’s older or younger, or just more frail.
However, there are ways to stop your dog from jumping on people, when even the best dog toys aren’t a sufficient distraction. Carolyn Martell, a certified trainer and the founder of Good Dog Training, has explained how to stop a dog from jumping up in a recent Instagram post.
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First of all, says Martell in her Instagram post, the key is teaching calmness around new people, because “if your dog can’t calmly ignore people they probably can’t say hi without jumping”. If your dog is jumping around people, it’s because they don’t know how to be calm around them – and in particular, new people are likely to invite lots of excitement in your pup.
If your dog gets so excited at the thought of seeing somebody that they lunge toward them, they’ll almost definitely jump on them, she explains. And, if you let your dog rush up to them in such a way, you’re effectively setting your dog up to fail.
So, what can you do instead? If you’re dealing with a puppy, teach them that not everyone they see is a potential new friend. A puppy who expects to meet and interact with everyone they see is likely to be more excited when they see people, and in turn, be more likely to jump. But even if you’re dealing with an adult dog, you can still teach them not to be calm.
Perhaps one in every five people you pass should pet your dog, with the others ignoring them, Martell suggests. This way, your pup will become less excited when they see someone, and over time become less likely to jump. It’s all about teaching your dog to be more calm – do calming treats for dogs work, for example? You might find that they help your pup to relax a little, so they could be worth incorporating into your training.
No matter the age of your dog, if you see someone and they’re whining or lunging to meet them, calmly ignore them instead. Do this for two reasons. Firstly, you know your dog will be likely to jump on them, and secondly, you don’t want to reward their behavior.
It can be difficult. When your pup loves people, it’s only natural that you want them to socialize with people who are just as happy meeting them. After all, it’s better than a dog who doesn’t like other people, right?
However, your dog will benefit in the long run if you work on their lunging and jumping behavior, and you’ll be able to reduce the risk of any accidents, too. And remember, if you’re struggling with your dog jumping on people, you’re not alone. Here’s one dog parent’s experience: I tried everything to get my dog to stop jumping up, here’s what actually worked.
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.