Tired of your dog jumping up? This trainer shares four tips that will solve your problem

A puppy seeking attention from his human by putting his paws up on the sofa
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jumping up can be a tricky behavior to deal with and while you don't want to be punishing your dog for friendly and social behavior, there are also times where jumping up may not be safe or appropriate.

In these instances, knowing how to stop a dog from jumping up can be really helpful, and thanks to expert trainer Julianna DeWillems, teaching your pup this important skill just got a whole lot easier.

Sharing a video to Instagram, DeWillems uses a real life example to illustrate how we as pet parents can train our dogs with dog treats to not jump up when we don't want them to. You can check out the clip in full below or read on for a summary of the main points.

The dog in the video has learnt that jumping up gets him both attention and treats, and because he can get quite intense and start mouthing, DeWillems wants to teach him not to jump up on her every time she stops petting him. 

"The way I'm going to do it is to make it really clear what I DO want and breaking it into such small steps that there is almost no way that the dog isn't successful," she explains.

"What is currently cueing the jumping behavior is me removing my hands from him when I stop petting him. So I actually start rewarding the four paws on the floor behavior - which replaces the jumping - where I know he will be successful while I'm still petting him."

DeWillems delivers the treat to the ground to further reinforce that all good stuff comes from down low, creating less reason for the dog to want to look upwards and jump. She slowly makes things harder by removing her hands and stopping petting him for a few seconds at a time as she rewards him.

In order to practice this with your own dog, DeWillems shares the following four takeaways from the video:

1) Set your pup up for success: "When changing behavior we start where the dog is successful. In this case, that starting point is while we are still petting the dog."

2) Increase the difficulty: "We make things harder in small enough increments that there is almost no way the dog is not successful. Making too big of a leap in criteria will likely cause the unwanted jumping behavior to occur again. Don’t worry though: small steps lead to big progress more quickly than you think." 

3) Be mindful of your expectations: "We keep our expectations reasonable. This is one single two minute training session that is working against a lifetime of learning history."

4) Don't let them repeat the unwanted behavior: "Some advice around jumping is to ignore the dog or wait them out. We do not do that because that allows a ton of rehearsal of the unwanted jumping behavior. If we’re training the way we want to, we do not let the jumping behavior occur in the first place." 

Training any new behavior takes time, patience and consistency. If you feel after several months you're not seeing any improvement in your dog's behavior, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for some 1:1 support.

For more great training tips, check out our guides to how to calm a reactive dog and how to crate train a dog.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.