Do you have a dog that jumps? Dog jumping is more than just bad manners, it can be dangerous. Find out how to stop a dog from jumping up on strangers, furniture, and more.
Your dog's bad jumping behaviours can be annoying and embarrassing, not to mention, it can be dangerous. If your dog jumps up on someone who is carrying something fragile, a small child, or jumps on a person with a medical condition, it can easily damage or injury.
In this post, we will discuss how to stop your dog from jumping on people coming into your home, strangers, and furniture.
Why Do Dogs Jump Up?
Dogs jumping is very normal behaviour. However, that doesn't mean it's a behaviour you should accept and continue to allow. The reasons why dogs jump are quite simple. However, fixing the behaviour can be a little more tricky.
For the most part, dogs will jump on people because they’re excited, want attention, or because they've learned it was 'good' behaviour. Many people unknowingly encourage jumping behaviour based on how they respond to it.
For example, if when your puppy or small dog jumps, you pick them up, this is a reward in their mind. This means when they want to be picked up or have you engage with them, they'll do what has worked in the past, jumping.
Jumping on furniture happens for similar reasons with one additional reason. Being on top of a couch, bed, or chair gives them a better view of what's happening around them and better access to you. When they're up on furniture, they can keep an eye on what's going on in their environment.
If they're jumping on the couch while you're sitting on it, it's likely because they want to be close to you and receive some attention/affection.
Now let's discuss some of the not-so-obvious reasons why it's bad for dogs to jump.
Is It Bad For Dogs To Jump?
Now that you know why dogs jump, you might be wondering, what's the big deal? Your dog jumping might be annoying, but it isn't hurting anyone, is it? Well, maybe not yet, but the potential for danger or damage is there.
Aside from the fact that it's often considered impolite when your dog jumps, there are a few safety reasons why you shouldn't allow your dog to jump on people or furniture.
Your Dog Could Knock Someone Down
Dogs that jump on people are more likely to accidentally knock someone over, especially if they're a large breed. This could lead to injuries, both for your dog and the person they knocked over. Small children are also at a high risk of injury if your dog decides to meet them at eye level.
Your Dog Could Damage Your Furniture
Dogs that jump up on furniture are more likely to damage or scratch the furniture. This is especially true if your dog is in need of a nail trim. Depending on the fabric, their nails could tear the material. Or their nails could get caught in the fabric and break, which can be very painful.
Dogs Can Be Dirty
Another reason you might want to keep your pooch off the furniture is that they're more than happy to lie on the dirty ground outside. They tend to bring dirt and debris to your couch or bed. Which is unhygienic for you and requires more frequent cleaning.
Your Dog Could Get Injured
Jumping can also be hazardous to some dog breed's health. For example, dogs that are more prone to hip dysplasia, spinal issues, and arthritis should be adamantly discouraged from jumping. This is because the added strain on their legs and back can contribute to injury or worsening of their condition.
Small dogs that jump up on furniture or counters could fall too. While it might seem like a short distance to you, an extra small or toy breed could easily get seriously injured if they land the wrong way.
Most people are flattered to have a happy dog greet them at the door, but when jumping is in the mix, it makes the experience a little less enjoyable and a little more dangerous.
Breaking this habit won't happen overnight, but like any other type of dog training, you can help your dog unlearn this nuisance habit and replace it with more positive and appropriate behaviours.
Keep reading to learn about the four most common dog jumping behaviours and learn how to put a stop to inappropriate dog jumping.
1. How To Stop a Dog From Jumping On Furniture
The best way to stop your dog from jumping on furniture is not to allow them on the furniture in the first place. This means not letting them on the furniture when they're a puppy, so they never learn this is okay behaviour, to begin with.
If you have a dog that's already allowed on the furniture and you're trying to transition them to not being on the furniture, it's best to start by not letting them on the furniture when you're home.
This means if they jump on the couch while you're sitting on it, you get up and leave the room. Likewise, if they jump on the bed while you're sleeping, you get up and leave the room.
The goal is to make it so that being on the furniture is not rewarding for them. Instead, you want them to associate being on the furniture with you leaving the room and not getting attention.
This means no petting, no talking, and no eye contact. If this isn't working, you'll have to take matters a little further and place objects on your couch or bed to make them unable to jump up.
For example, if you have a two-seater couch, put a big cardboard box or chair on the cushion you're not using. This will make them unable to jump up. Also, when you get up from the couch, you'll want to have another big box or chair to place on the other cushion you were just using.
Obviously, this is a less than ideal situation, but it will help break the habit as they physically won't be able to get up. After enough time has passed where they haven't been able to get on the couch, they'll lose interest in trying and eventually understand the couch isn't a place for them to relax.
To prevent your dog from feeling neglected, try putting a comfortable bed, like an elevated dog bed near the couch so he can be close to you while you are relaxing.
2. How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on the Counter
Sometimes, your dog's habit of jumping on furniture in the house has nothing to do with getting close to you. Dogs that jump on tables, kitchen chairs, and counters are often less concerned with getting your attention and more concerned with getting your sandwich.
Even if the food is safe for dogs to eat, they still shouldn't be consuming or chewing on anything that you don't give them, especially when unsupervised. Your dog could eat something toxic or choke.
The first step is to remove open or loose food from the area that your dog is accessing. While it may not be convenient, keeping human foods tucked away in cupboards, containers, or the fridge will help to discourage your dog from jumping up to reach them.
Once a bad habit is built, it can be challenging to break, so even after the food is gone, your dog may still jump up on the counter out of habit. Much like keeping your pet off of other furniture, placing objects like cardboard or even tinfoil on your counters will help to deter them from trying and in time break the annoying habit.
If your dog's motivation isn't food related, then he may be getting on the counter to get a better view of his environment. Kitchen windows give a nice view of the yard or neighbourhood, so your dog may just be looking for a better vantage point.
Making sure your dog has access to a different window in a safer area of the house will help you redirect this behaviour to something more appropriate. You can place a comfy dog bed near the preferred window, or make that spot into a play area where your dog can be comfortable.
3. How To Stop a Dog From Jumping On People and House Guests
The most important thing when it comes to stopping a dog from jumping on people coming into your home is to make sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone has to agree to adhere to the new rules you're making. If just one person allows jumping, it sends mixed signals to your dog and makes it very difficult for them to understand proper behaviour.
That being said, this is difficult because it's hard not to give them attention when they're being so excited. But, if you can be consistent, it will pay off.
The first thing you need to do is not allow them to jump on you when you come into the house. If they jump on you, you turn around and ignore them; you can even try leaving the house. The bottom line is, no petting or talking to them when they're jumping on you.
The first few tries will be the most frustrating, as your dog will repeatedly try to jump to get your attention. If they follow you and continue to jump, turn away again. Try crossing your arms to show your pooch that you are not going to interact.
If they're jumping on other people who come into the house, have those people do the same thing. It would help if you let them know what you're trying to accomplish with your dog ahead of time and ask them to play along with your new rules. This means asking them to turn around, ignore, and possibly leave the house if your dog jumps.
The goal is to make it so that jumping equals people leaving and ultimately not getting any attention.
4. How To Stop a Dog From Jumping On Strangers
This one is a bit more difficult as you can't control how strangers will react to your dog. But, if you're consistent with the rules you set at home, it will eventually pay off.
The best way to avoid this is by what you teach your dog at home. If you allow them to jump on anyone who enters your home, they won't see a problem with jumping on strangers. When you curb this behaviour inside your home, your dog will be much less likely to jump up when they're excited to greet a stranger.
Another thing that's great to have on hand when you're out and about with your dog is high-value dog treats. These kinds of treats are great for getting your dog's full attention. But they have to be high-value treats, not just any ordinary treat.
Often, the smellier, the better. Some examples of high-value treats are Benny Bully's Liver Chops or Farm Fresh Bacon Treats. It's different for every dog, but once you find a treat that your dog absolutely loves, you can get their attention in most environments. No matter what's going on.
Practice vocal cues like 'sit' or 'wait' at home too. When your dog has a good grasp of these commands, you can use them to prevent your dog from getting over-excited and jumping on strangers. This will also hint to the stranger that you don't want your dog jumping up.
What To Avoid When Your Dog Won't Stop Jumping
When it comes to training your dog not to jump, you want to avoid being physical with them. This means no pushing them off you, no kneeing them in the chest, and no grabbing their paws.
If you're physical with your dog when they jump, it will only escalate the bad behaviour. They'll either get hurt, which can harm your relationship with them, or think you're playing a game and will continue to jump even more. Not to mention, it's just not nice to be physical with your dog like that.
Check out Force Free Dog Training Tips for more information on training your dog using positive and safe techniques.
Another thing to avoid is picking them up when they jump. People often do this with small dogs, but it's not a good idea. If you pick them up when they jump, this is a reward in their mind because they're being held by you and getting attention. This is more than enough reason to continue jumping in the future.
The best way to avoid these things is by using force-free, positive reinforcement training with your dog. This means rewarding them when they listen to you and do what you ask.
For example, if they sit instead of jump, give them a treat or praise. This will show them that they're doing what you want and will encourage them to continue listening in the future.
No More Dog Jumping
Jumping is a normal and instinctual behaviour for dogs, but it's one that often needs to be trained out of them. Otherwise, they'll continue to jump on people and furniture and potentially cause damage or hurt someone.
By using positive reinforcement, training your dog consistently, and ensuring everyone's on the same page, you can eventually stop them from jumping altogether. It might take some time and patience, but it's definitely possible.
If you are struggling to teach your pet to stop jumping, then it might be time to consult a professional dog trainer. They can provide you with techniques and routines to help you train your dog effectively.
Does your dog jump on people? Share your tips and struggles with breaking this nuisance habit in the comments below!