Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | July 28, 2008

Does your Dog Jump?

Sam - Pet Column Author

Sam - Pet Column Author

People who don’t care so much for dogs (yes, a few of these people exist…), or perhaps are even a bit nervous around them, will tell you that what they most dislike is when dogs jump up on them. When you think about this behavior it really is rather rude. If people did that to one another in greeting there would likely be some fallout from it. So why do so many dog parents tolerate it? Some say they enjoy the exuberance of the dog greeting and don’t want to dampen the spirit of their dog. Others say they have given up on teaching their dog to keep its feet planted when in greeting. And others are still working on it with occasional success.

As a Second Chance Shelter dog I would like to challenge every dog parent out there to eliminate this behavior from your dog. I think it will increase the chances of turning the people that are unsure about dogs around and give homeless dogs like me more opportunities in finding a loving home (more dog lovers = more dog homes). You can even consider that if all dog parents made the pledge to teach their dogs polite and respectful greetings perhaps dog homelessness would be reduced altogether.

So I will share some tips for accomplishing this. Number one is consistency. You must be consistent in your training or dogs will learn that sometimes it is ok to jump up and they will always be testing the waters. Also, as with all positive training techniques used at the Second Chance Shelter, the most effective training reinforces the desired behavior while not reinforcing the undesired behavior. I will elaborate on this proven philosophy with the training technique below.

With your dog on a leash beside you have someone approach just beyond the distance of the leash. As soon as your dog tires of attempting to jump on the person and sits down, immediately reinforce with treats and praise. There, you just reinforced the desired behavior. Do not verbally ask your dog to sit in this exercise, allow him to figure it out himself and have the person being greeted ignore him until he sits. Otherwise, he will learn to sit but not to refrain from jumping.

With consistent practice it will become routine. Practicing in many different environments with different sizes and shapes of people is also recommended.

Now, how do you handle a jumping dog who is off leash, for example your excited dog who is so happy that you have just come home from work? Ignore him and turn your back to him until he gets frustrated and sits. Immediately reinforce this behavior (although not with so much excitement that he jumps up again) with praise and a treat. If he does attempt to jump again upon being praised, repeat the ignoring sequence. Be consistent with this training as well.

If you start to miss the joyful lunge of a dog into your arms you can always teach him to jump up when invited only. Using a cue such as “hugs”, in a manner that he learns that it is up to you to decide when he jumps.

So I do hope this Pet Column has inspired you to turn your jumping- attention-demanding fur ball into a polite and well-mannered family member. Remember that your efforts will add to the collective and ripple their way toward helping me to find a forever home. And as a female Bull Mix, I have enough challenges in this realm because I look intimidating to some people – although I adore people and my best friend Magnus – a Bull/Sharpai mix.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet or learn about SCHS Spay/Neuter Vouchers, Volunteer & Foster Care and other Programs. Visit to see our adoptable pets. Responses to Pet Columns can be sent to




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