They have some confidence, they are excited, they are curious, and they really really want to get all the way up there!
If you have a dog that jumps - on the counters, on people, on your kids, on the bed, anything and everything - then you are not alone. Jumping is a common behavior, yet challenging to address. Reshaping the behavior requires consistency, timing, attention, and management. But once you get it and things start clicking for your dog, it is very rewarding (and relieving!) to have a dog that stays on the ground.
You can start by taking a small action today - doing something a little differently - and see it make an impact. Changing up the game with your dog typically leads to changing up the behavior.
1. Stop yelling at them to get off
I put this as number one because it is the most common reaction of dog owners and changing this up typically leads to the biggest change in behavior. After your dog jumps, maybe you say "get off" or "no" or your dog's name. If you are saying anything after your dog has already jumped, you are reinforcing bad behavior. Any attention - good or bad - is still attention.
So what should you do? Say nothing, push them off, let them fall off of you. The more attention they get when they are in the air, the more you are reinforcing the unwanted behavior. Even if you don't give them any commands, no attention is better than negative attention.
2. Tell them to go to their place
When in doubt, tell them to go to their place.
- It is impossible to communicate "I don't want you jumping"
- It is challenging to communicate "I want you on the ground"
- It is easy to say "I want you here"
A dog bed that is hard to chew through!: https://amzn.to/3pVL5gt
Even (better yet, especially!) outside, they can benefit from a dog bed: https://amzn.to/43EvQGn
3. Put them on a leash
This is especially good for a dog that jumps on people. A leash literally prevents them from doing the behavior you don't like. Furthermore, you aren't fighting any urges or instincts you may have to tell the dog to not jump on the kids or your mother-in-law or the neighbor who doesn't mind.
If you don't want your dog to jump, the leash is setting them up for success to never get to the thing they so desperately want to jump.
4. Put them behind a gate
This is management. And, there is nothing wrong with management. Management means you are creating an environment where the dog can NOT do the behavior you don't like. You don't like them jumping on counters, gate off the kitchen. If you don't want them jumping on people when they walk in the door, put them behind a gate. Eventually, you'll have to add training to the mix - or else you'll have gates around your house forever - but you don't have to do that today to make an impact.
I like a freestanding gate that I can move around for different scenarios. Here is a link to my favorite gate: https://amzn.to/3QfinBN
5. Start rewarding them for not jumping
- First you teach "get off"
- Then you teach "stay off"
- Then you teach "you belong here" ... so stop lingering by the counters!
If you have been saying "off" for a while, then you need to progress your expectations for the dog. I am sure it is no longer rewarding to give them a treat after they have already jumped on the counter, but it will be a gratifying to have them listen to you and never jump! They should get a treat for that!
Eliminating jumping requires you to change your mindset as a dog owner first. You want to start preventing the behavior instead of reacting to it. You want to start rewarding them for staying on the ground, for listening to you, and for staying in their place. It takes time, but a small change today will make a difference.
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