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Training Tips by Rich: Jumping Up

   Posted on June 3   |   by Rich

I remember in the 70s watching a trainer teach “no jump” in 1 minute. This wild, happy Golden Retriever came bounding up to him and he placed a knee in that dog’s chest like a brick. The dog squeeled, jumped back and was “cured” of jumping up on strangers.

Looking back, it is not hard to understand

1) why it worked so well (pretty obvious the dog wanted to avoid another knee)

2) why this dog had fear issues, trust issues and generally lost that excited happy greeting, trading it for a sort of low crawl approach to greet people.

That was some bad training, but in the 70s, I taught what I had been taught. It breaks my heart now when I think of techniques like that.

A dog jumping up is trying to lick mouths, to greet in a most friendly and happy dog way.

Nowadays, there are many preferable paths to end this behavior…here are a few:


That sounds easy, but it is not. You can’t “say” no jump, because the dog wants your attention and your voice may be received as a reward, even if you do not intend it. (Yelling is not a way to develop a positive relationship!)

You cannot push the dog away, because hand contact may be seen by the dog as rewarding.

LOOKING at your pet is granting attention, whoops! More reward.

So folding arms, turning away and waiting for four on the floor before acknowledging, petting and praising your pet is a preferred modern technique.

Better still, a frequently practiced and rewarded sit command can provide your dog with an alternate, rewardable behavior.

I have found since the 80s that a regularly practiced sit command creates a sit “default.” It should be your pet’s way of saying please. Practice sit at doorways, before feeding, before greeting, at curbs (during walks) and randomly all over the house and anywhere you visit.

Treats are great but you won’t always have them. A 45 second backscratch, belly rub, ear, neck, shoulders and butt scratch will usually provide a sufficient reinforcement to replace the treat when they are not handy.

Always try to make it worth your pet’s while to sit. Do not take it for granted – many handlers fail to acknowledge simple good behaviors.

The more clearly you mark and reward the behaviors you value, the more frequently your pet will deliver these behaviors.