Perfect Puppy Problem Solving – Chapter 4 – Jumping Up
Chapter 4 – Jumping Up
Puppies usually jump up because they want your attention and because you give it to them. Of course, if your puppy jumps up on you and you laugh and pet her, you’re teaching her to jump up on you. Puppies do what works. If it pays to keep jumping on you, they’ll keep doing it. Some paychecks can be subtle:
- If you’re watching television and your puppy puts her front paws on your legs and you scratch her ears, you’re paying her for jumping up.
- If your puppy jumps up on you and you push her away, you’re paying her for jumping up. You’ve given her physical attention. She interprets this as petting or part of the game.
- If your puppy jumps on you and you scold her, you’re paying her for jumping up. You’ve given her verbal attention. Whether you think the attention is negative or positive, it’s still attention to your puppy.
What to Do
Before you can fix your puppy’s behavior, change your own. Or maybe you aren’t paying your puppy for jumping, but your friends or family are. That can be a more difficult challenge—to fix their behavior, too! If one person rewards your puppy for jumping but others don’t, your puppy will have a difficult time learning not to jump on people. Everyone should be consistent teachers so that your puppy has consistent lessons.
- Have a treat hidden in your hand. Jump around and act excited—in other words, set the situation up so that your puppy will likely jump up on you.
- The second your puppy jumps up on you, stop moving. Turn your head slightly away, and fold your arms across your chest. Act as if you are completely ignoring her, but it’s important that you can still see her. Otherwise, you will not be able to accurately mark the behavior that you want, which is her getting off you. So don’t turn completely around with your back to your puppy, or you won’t be able to see her.
- Give the cue “Off.” Do not use a mean voice! This is information, not discipline. Your puppy does not have a clue what this word means yet. Be sure to use the same cue each time. For example, if you want to use the cue “Get down” for this, don’t also use “Down” to mean lie down, too.
- Continue to ignore your puppy. Don’t talk to her, don’t look in her eyes, and don’t lecture her. Do nothing. Don’t be tempted to use the treat to lure her off you. This would be like doing her homework for her. You want her to learn this on her own, without a temptation to lure her away. You may not always have a treat with you when she jumps on you. Just ignore her. Remember, she wants your attention. If you don’t give her any, she will get off, because jumping up isn’t paying her.
- The second your puppy has all four paws on the ground, mark “Yes!” and give her the treat that you had hidden in your hand. Don’t wait for her to sit—just mark the very second she has four paws on the floor. She may eventually sit for your attention, but if you wait for that, she won’t associate getting off you with the cue “Off,” because too much time will have elapsed.
Troubleshooting: What if your puppy jumps up to get the treat? Don’t give it to her. Pull the treat back and wait for her to get all four paws on the floor.
Troubleshooting: What if your puppy is too fast? If she jumps, and you’ve barely gotten “Off” out of your mouth before she’s off you and jumping up again, try to be faster than your puppy. Some puppies, especially smaller breeds, are like pogo sticks! Stick with it, and try to accurately mark the behavior when she has all four paws on the floor.
Once you have taught your puppy to stop jumping on you, it’s time to teach her not to jump on your guests. After all, your friends and family may not appreciate being mauled every time they come to visit. Two exercises will help with this behavior: Greeting Manners and Sitting Politely for Petting.
You will need another person to help you. Be sure to instruct them not to reward your puppy in any way for jumping up. Explain to them that this includes laughing, giggling, petting, and even looking at your puppy. Your puppy thinks that any attention is good attention!
What to Do Section Continued on the Next Page
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