My Puppy is Jumping Up – Help!!
‘How do I stop my puppy from jumping up?’ This has to be the top struggle for many new puppy owners. We certainly get asked this question by lots of students in our classes.
What do I want?
The running trend in our training methodology starts with your mindset. So, when it comes to any struggle, first you need to turn the ‘what don’t I wants’ into ‘what do I want.’ With the particular struggle of jumping up, catching moments where your puppy has 4 feet on the floor and rewarding them and playing boundary games is going to turn what you don’t want into what you do want. If you have ditched the bowl, these moments are where you can reward your puppy with their daily food.
What we reward will lead to that choice being made again and over time this choice (because we have reinforced it so much) becomes an automatic response because we’ve made it so desirable. The choice pathway in your puppy’s brain has been enhanced and supercharged, so they simply choose to do it over any other choice!
Along with training, you also need to implement management strategies. Management won’t train your puppy to do something else, but it will stop the opportunity for your puppy to rehearse the ‘what don’t I wants.’ So think about adding in some of the following management strategies while you work on reinforcing the ‘4 feet on the floor game’ and boundary games,
- Limit your puppy’s access to visitors when they first come into the house. Pop them in a crate, another room or behind a baby-gate while your visitor enters and while the energy is high. Once things have calmed down, that’s the time to let your puppy out to come and say hi.
- When out and about with your puppy, some people will make a beeline for your them! (Puppies are cute!!)
- Politely say that your puppy is in training before they get to them.
- If you puppy wants to say hi (it’s important that they want to say hi and if they aren’t sure or a little worried, that’s OK, don’t force the situation).
- See if they are able to keep 4 feet on the floor while the leash is loose, and then release them to the passerby to say hi.
- Asking your puppy to show and offer some level of self-control, and then releasing them to say hi puts permission on the greeting. Meaning that from the get-go your puppy is learning that if they wait to be released, they get what they want – in this case it’s to say hi!
- Ask anyone who is greeting your puppy to kneel down a little when your puppy comes over to say hi so that they don’t have the option to jump up.
- Your puppy doesn’t have to say hi to everyone! Sometimes practicing self-control around people is also key.