by Natasha
(Brantford, Ontario, Canada)

From Natasha... My dog jumps on everyone!

When we go to my mom's house he jumps on her and the young children. He jumps when he gets excited to see new people ,too, or other animals.

We pull on his leash or pull him down off people but he still does it.

How can we get him to stop?

Shannon Says...

Dear Natasha,

Thanks for your question! If your dog has been doing this for a while, it is a habit that will take a little longer to break. That's not to say that you can't solve the problem, though...

The first thing you'll want to do is eliminate any situations where he is encouraged to "jump" on people, or where he may get praised for having his paws on people.

Don't let him sit on your lap - a dog can't understand why he's allowed to have his paws on you this way, but is not allowed to jump.

If he's been taught shake-a-paw, stop asking him to do this trick. Shake-a-paw often leads to jumping issues... in a dog's mind, it's all or nothing.

If you don't want his paws on people at all, don't let him put his paws on them to shake-a-paw, either!

One other situation I want to mention is when you come home (or other members of your family), and your dog is excited to see you. If he jumps up on you and you pet him to say hello while his paws are on you, you are inadvertently praising this behavior.

Everything in a dog's life has to be black and white. Once you understand this basic premise, you can solve most problems.

You now know how to prevent the problem, so how do you correct it when it happens? Yes, you'll need to praise the behavior that you want, but you'll also need to physically correct the unwanted behavior each and every time it happens.

To do so, there's a few things you can do. You can try entrapment, where you will set up a situation where your dog will want to jump on someone, giving you the opportunity to correct him and show him the proper behavior.

For this, have a collar and 6 foot leather or nylon leash on your dog (not a flexi leash or chain leash, and NOT a halter, gentle leader or anything of that sort).

Hold the leash, and stand behind your dog. Have someone else come walking up to him, tapping their shoulders and legs to get him to jump.

When he starts to jump, loosen the leash, pop it back and down on an angle fast, firm, and on time, and then loosen the leash again.

SAY NOTHING when you give a correction. If you say "no" or "off" and then correct, he'll just learn that he can't jump when you are holding the leash or in the room.

If you say nothing, he won't associate the correction with you, and will think that his behavior caused the correction.

If he jumps again right away, say nothing, and again loosen the leash, pop down quickly (and firmly), and then loosen the leash again. The collar should go tight for only 1 second!

Praise immediately when he consciously decides not to jump. Praise is just as important as a correction in showing him what's right and wrong.

You can do this exercise a few times a day. Keep your front door locked so that you won't have anyone pop by unexpectedly.

Why? With it locked, you'll have a minute to get your dog's leash and collar on if you need to, and get ready to correct any jumping from behind.

I usually recommend leaving the leash and collar on in the house for a few weeks so that you are never unprepared if he jumps on you or another family member. Try spraying the leash with bitter apple spray if he likes to chew.

For any situations where you don't have his collar and leash on and he jumps on you, simply put your knee up (not kicking him!) and when his chest hits your knee, it will knock him off balance.

In order to effectively stop jumping:

1. Your corrections must be fast, firm, and on time for them to be effective. If you give a weak correction, it will not be a deterrent for him.

2. You must be catching him in the act and correcting the behavior at least 90% of the time that it happens (keep the leash and collar on!).

3. He must be wearing a collar, not a harness or gentle leader (these are not safe for a dog to wear, and you will hurt him if you give a correction on a gentle leader).

4. Everyone must be on the same page - it only takes on person who is consistently letting him jump on them, or playing shake-a-paw with them for him to continue jumping.

I hope you find this helpful, and good luck! If you were happy with our advice, please let us know on our testimonials page!

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