Updated: Nov 30, 2018
As a dog trainer, one of the behaviors that I hear most often that dog owners want to put an end to is jumping up on people. Not only can it be embarrassing when your dog jumps on your guests, but it could be potentially dangerous. Just imagine if your dog jumps on and knocks down an elderly person or a child. This is a scenario nobody wants.
The good news is that it is easy to stop this behavior, and no, you don't have to put your knee into your dogs chest or yank him with a choke collar to get him to stop, which is what some dog trainers recommend. Those methods could be harmful to your dog, and it's the complete opposite of what you should be doing.
Eyes away, hands away, turn away!
Eyes away, hands away, turn away is the method I used to teach dog owners how to stop their dogs from jumping on people. Basically, what we're doing is taking social feedback away from the dog. You see, one thing most dogs are motivated by is attention(social feedback). They jump, because you are giving them attention when they jump. To most dog owners, pushing their dog off and telling him "get off!" is their way of "training" him to stop jumping, but in reality your dog loves that! You're giving him attention, so he's going to keep jumping on you.
Instead of pushing your dog away and telling him "get off", ignore him! Okay, there's a little more than that. When you can see your dog is going to jump on you, turn away from him, keep your hands down, and don't say anything. If he does jump on you after turning your back, just give him a slight bump with your hip. Do this every time your dog tries to jump on you.
Consistency and persistence is key!
Here's the thing... You've been unknowingly encouraging your dog to jump on you for so long, it will take some time to break the habit. You can't expect to do my Eyes away, hands away, turn away method once, twice, or even twenty times and think your dog won't jump again. It just doesn't work that way.
The first and most important thing with this method is you MUST, MUST, MUST make sure everyone in your household is on board with this. They ALL must practice eyes away, hands away, turn away EVERY TIME! If everyone is not on board it will simply not work.
The next thing you need to do is make sure your guests are aware of your training method. Tell them ahead of time to ignore your dog when they come in the house and instruct them what to do if he tries to jump on them. Many people will not understand, but this is your dog and your home, so it's important they help you with this.
But my dog is jumping more now!
One thing that may happen over the short term is that your dog may try jumping more often than before. Don't worry, this is normal and this is why... So, all this time you've been giving your dog attention when he jumps and now you have stopped giving him attention. This may result in your dog jumping more, looking for the attention he used to get. Don't worry, this burst of more jumping will subside and go away. Just stick to eyes away, hands away, turn away.
Just the tip of the iceberg
Eyes away, hands away, turn away will work nearly 100% of the time if properly implemented and if you are consistent and persistent, but there are other things you can do to speed up the process of stopping the jumping and I would be more than happy to help you achieve this goal and other goals you may have for your dog.
My name is Paul Falardeau and I am a Certified Dog Training Instructor in the Albuquerque, NM area who does private dog training. If you live in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Placitas, Corrales, or Bernalillo, NM and need training for your dog or puppy, I would be happy to schedule a FREE in-home evaluation for you.
My free evaluation does three things.
1. It allows you to learn more about my methods.
2. It allows me to observe your dog in her own environment.
3. It allows both you and I to learn more about your goals for your dog and talk about what we can do to achieve those goals.