How to Stop a Dog from Jumping on Me

By Minette

It has taken a lot of experience to figure out how to stop a dog from jumping on me. Jumping up when greeting is one of the most common complaints pet owners have about their dogs. The reason this behavior happens so frequently is that in dog to dog communication, moving right toward the face is not only common but may show social politeness and deference to the other animal.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to put up with this annoying behavior. You can teach your dog to stop.

While the idea of “training” may seem daunting, it is simply teaching an animal what behavior works or doesn’t work through resulting consequences — so whether you realize it or not, you are actually training your dog every moment of the day. Fortunately for you, preventing jumping is possible even without structured training. There are some simple solutions to this problem that require minimal effort and fit easily into your normal interactions with your dog.

Why is My Dog Jumping?

There are a number of theories about why dogs jump up on people; popular among these are dominance and greeting behaviors.

The truth is, though, that your dog is probably jumping up to say, “Look at me!”

Why do dogs jump? In short, a jumping dog is a dog who is looking for attention, and it doesn’t matter whether that attention is positive or negative.

Dogs have spent thousands of years evolving alongside humans and over that time they have learned what appeases us when we are angry with them (puppy eyes anyone?), what facial expressions and silly antics earn our affection, and what behaviors get them what they want. If your dog wants attention, affection or petting and they have learned that they can get it when they jump, then guess what? They will continue jumping! 

You might inadvertently be rewarding your puppy when your dog jumps up on you by giving it what it wants. As is often true of kids, negative attention may be better than no attention. Your dog doesn’t necessarily realize that when you push it off or yell at it to get down that you’re attempting to punish it. Instead, your pup may view your behavior as exactly what it’s seeking: treasured attention from you.

In this case, any type of attention that the dog gets from you or others may be perceived as a reward. It makes sense then that instead of rewarding it when your dog jumps up, you make it more rewarding for it to keep all four paws on the floor.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid when Trying to Stop Your Dog from Jumping on People

A dog that jumps up is a HUGE problem! Ironically, I live with a dog that jumps! Let me explain, before you think I am completely crazy! After all, why would a dog trainer admit to living with a problem jumper?

Actually, he is mostly my brother’s dog and I am not always in charge of his training. The kids let him jump, my brother lets him jump, my brother’s wife lets him jump; but he has learned not to jump on me! Why? Because I avoid these 3 simple mistakes to make sure that I stop my dog from jumping up:

1.      Yelling

Yelling doesn’t work.  It is a waste or your time and breath. Poignantly, yelling doesn’t work for much when you are talking about dog training. It may work on your children, but in most cases (unless you are willing to back hand your dog or inflict sincere pain) yelling incites excitement. Dogs often don’t know how to deal with our anger when they are already excited. 

Here they are excited to see us, excited we are home, trying to communicate something, or trying to play with us and we yell. Yelling confuses dogs. Again, they are excited, and we seem angry? So, in an effort to appease us, they often get more excited or agitated and confused and jump on us more or show other inappropriate behaviors like nipping.

Imagine being in love with someone, sincerely missing them for what seems like forever (months) and then having them meet you with indifference and anger.  Would you be confused or hurt?  Would you try to cheer them up or change their mind?

Your dog doesn’t understand, don’t waste your time yelling at him, which will simply make his behavior worse and will inevitably make you angrier.

2.      Kicking

Kicking or kneeing is another choice that will, almost certainly, confuse your dog. I know that some will claim that it has worked for them in the past, but not only is kicking barbaric it often doesn’t work unless there is significant pain associated with it on several occasions.

And, who really wants to kick and hurt their dog? Much less, who wants to ask other people to kick and hurt their dog? That is certainly not the way that I want to train! I don’t want my dog to fear me or other people. And, really it is as simple as that. But it also only works for people who are willing to do that to your dog.

How many 3-year-olds are going to kick your dog? How many visitors? Is that really what you want your dog to learn? I think we have all tried these techniques, yelling, kneeing, grabbing their feet till they are uncomfortable; but these all rely on “WAITING FOR THE DOG TO JUMP” instead of stopping the dog from jumping up from the beginning.

3.      Turning Away

I know, I know – you didn’t expect that one on the list!

Many people are told to just turn their back when their dog or another dog jumps on them.  And, I will concede that sometimes I do this with other people’s dogs for a short time until I can find another tactic, but it still doesn’t usually work.

Again, it may have worked for a small handful of dogs, but not the majority. 

Jumping is a self-rewarding behavior. Let that sink in for a minute…

Jumping is a self-rewarding behavior, so to some degree it doesn’t matter how much screaming, kicking, smacking, ignoring or turning you try to do; your dog is getting something out of jumping on you.

His brain fills with oxytocin and serotonin as soon as he gets next to you and touches you. 

This also happens when you touch him, but if you don’t do it fast enough he figures he can just jump into your space and onto you.

He doesn’t mean any harm, really.

He is a dog, and dogs aren’t born knowing and understanding our human rules and guidelines.  They require teaching!

  • ·         They don’t understand that it hurts sometimes when they jump.
  • They don’t understand how dangerous it is to jump on toddlers or the elderly.
  • They don’t understand when you are dressed up and you don’t want your nylons ripped.
  • They especially don’t understand when you are inconsistent!!!

And, turning away from them just makes jumping more of a game.

He jumps, you turn, he jumps again… this goes on and on and whereas it isn’t fun for you; and you hope that he is learning, the truth is that he is a dog and he is having a good time.

Turning away is like playing a game of keep away – and dogs LOVE keep away!

What if you have tried other training methods in the past, such as kneeing your dog in the chest, pushing them off of you or shouting commands like “Off!” “No!” or “Down!” without success?

When you push your dog or puppy off of you, you have touched them, and therefore rewarded the behavior.

When you shout commands at your dog that they do not understand or have not learned well, you are speaking to your dog, giving them attention.

When you accidentally knee your dog in the chest or step on their paws? Even that may be reinforcing your dog’s behavior, because to a dog even negative attention is better than no attention at all. This is why dogs who have been abused in the past may still remain loyal to their owners, because negative attention is better than being ignored.

You may have heard about methods of training a dog not to jump that call for some form of punishment. One such method is a knee to the dog’s chest. Another is using leash correction—pulling or yanking on the leash—to get the dog off you. There are several problems with these methods:

If you knee or leash correct your dog too harshly or improperly, you can seriously injure the dog.

When you use a knee to the chest, you may knock your dog down, but the dog may interpret this as your way of initiating play. Your dog’s response will likely be to jump up again to continue the game because you’ve actually reinforced the behavior you’re trying to stop.

Your dog may learn not to jump up only when it’s on a leash. Since most dogs aren’t leashed 24/7, chances are your dog will have plenty of opportunities to get away with jumping up when it’s off its leash.

Things that Help

 #1 Reward a dog with four feet on the floor!

In order to teach your dog our rules and guidelines, we must teach them what behaviors we like!

People spend so much time telling dogs what NOT to do, that they rarely think about teaching their dogs what TO DO instead!

I reward my puppies for lying down on the floor at my feet, or sitting, or even just keeping all four feet on the ground.

In the beginning, I reward the puppy or new dog before they get an opportunity to jump. I make sure that I have excellent, tasty rewards!  For instance, your dog might rather jump on you than have a stale dog biscuit.  I use chicken breast, cheese or liver to reinforce good behavior.

Once my dog learns to keep all four on the floor, I change the criteria to sitting or (even better) lying down and waiting for me to come to him for affection. If jumping doesn’t bring petting or affection, but keeping four feet down brings treats AND affection a dog will learn quickly to stay off of you and your guests!

#2 Leash for Control

If you are still struggling and have inadvertently rewarded jumping behaviors, you might need some help. When I am working with a chronic jumper be it puppy or adult dog, I utilize a leash in the house. It doesn’t have to be a long leash, it can just be a tab leash, but a leash gives me control of my dog’s body and space. If my dog jumps up, I can simply and quietly pluck him off of my body.

Again, I don’t yell or shout commands… I don’t want to reverse the effects and make this rewarding, I simply very quietly remove the dog and wait for an opportunity to reward the dog for four on the floor or sitting. Leashes are not just for taking your dog outside for a walk. Leashes help us teach our dogs and gain control of other bad behaviors too!

#3 Teach a Counter-Behavior

One method you can try is to ask for a counter behavior. For example, if you can tell that your dog is about to jump, ask for a sit instead. If your dog is sitting, they can’t be jumping. Reward your dog regularly for sitting and they will learn that sitting is more profitable and gets them what they want more often than jumping does. 

Your dog can’t sit and jump on you at the same time.

Now, don’t get me wrong… he can go very quickly from a “sit” to jumping up, but, of course, he has to break the behavior/command in order to accomplish it.

He also can’t “lie down” and jump, and it is more difficult to spring up from a down command. This is why I always taught my potential Service Dogs to “down” when greeting new people.

Even rewarding your dog for keeping all four feet on the floor is helpful!

#4 Positive Reinforcement

When you’re working on preventing unwanted jumping, it can really help to keep some treats or rewards close at hand. As soon as your dog is standing in front of you with all four paws on the ground, toss it a treat or reward. Praise your dog as well, but keep things low key. Too much excitement and attention from you may stimulate another round of jumping, and we know you don’t like it when dogs jump. 

This all is based upon the theory of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when you reward or treat your puppy for good behavior, and that becomes the focus of your training. A treat, positive attention, or a reward is more likely to entice your dog into behaving than punishment, or negative reinforcement. Always keep plenty of treats or some other reward on hand. Find out what motivates your dog!

When your dog does the desired behavior – in this case, sitting or standing when greeting someone – give them a treat or reward to make certain that they will want to do it. Wanting to do something to earn a reward is a great motivator. Also, keep in mind that when you issue a command, there are infinite things that you don’t want your dog to do, and only one thing that you would like your dog to do. You can punish your dog for jumping, and it could stop jumping, but then it may paw at visitors as a greeting, rather than sitting or lying down. 

When finding the motivator for your dog, usually a treat is the most common reward, and many people will use this as part of their dog training. If your dog isn’t motivated by the treat that you are offering, try a different type of treat; dogs are almost always motivated by food. If that reward doesn’t still work, then many people use a toy as a reward during dog training with good results. The bottom line is to learn what your dog likes and reward it with the like.

Rewarding your dog with a treat will have much better results than punishment. Incorporating a clicker trainer into positive reinforcement makes it a piece of cake.

You MUST be Consistent

The most critical piece? Consistency!

You can’t expect your dog or puppy to learn that jumping is “wrong” if you allow it sometimes.

Plus, being inconsistent is unfair.

Make a pact as a family that no one will allow this behavior. Whatever training methods you choose to accept and apply, stick to them. Don’t compromise and be regular with making sure that your dog is not jumping.

You must be consistent!

This is why the puppy at my house has struggled. He can jump on some but not others. He has learned that if he sits or lies down he will be rewarded by me; but I am sure it is confusing for him that he can jump on some people but not others. Be fair and be consistent and you will sculpt the dog of your dreams!

Source: The Dog Training Secret

How to Stop a Dog from Marking

By Minette

When figuring out how to stop a dog from marking, it’s important that you first learn why dogs mark their territory.

Imagine this: you’re at home, and Mr. Barkley, your golden retriever, is in his usual spot on his bed. After a while, you decide to take him for a walk; after all, you don’t want him to turn into a chubby puppy! As you’re walking, you notice your neighbor, Linda, is gardening in her front yard. 

You greet her as you’re passing, and she looks up – only it’s at the worst possible moment. Her eyes widen in horror. Just as she was looking up, guess what happened? Mr. Barkley lifted his leg and just marked her mailbox and freshly pruned rose bushes!

Does This Look Familiar?

I get a lot of questions about dog potty training and quite a few come from the owners of intact, older male dogs, thinking that this is a potty training issue.  But. urine marking is not a “potty training” problem!

A dog that cocks his leg on the furniture is much different than a dog that squats and pees in a puddle on the floor.  Often, one of my first questions as a trainer is: was the urine on a vertical or horizontal structure?  Marking often occurs on furniture, doorways, clothing and anything else that might be new or that your dog deems is his.

Dogs Marking Inside

If marking their territory indoors is new behavior for your dog, then it is likely that something has changed in their environment.

The introduction of a new pet into the house can cause a dog to behave territorially, especially if one or both are not spayed/neutered. This new pet’s presence causes a shift in the social dynamic of the household that your current dog may feel needs addressing.

Similarly, the regular presence of a new person can cause a dog to mark their territory. One example of this is when a pet owner’s new partner becomes a regular fixture in the household. Your dog urinating in the house when they are there does not mean that they do not like them, but that they feel threatened or they feel the need to show the new person that they are in his territory. They are attempting to show that they are the alpha over that territory. It belongs to them.

You could try combating this by asking the new person to bring treats with them and to make sure that they have positive social interactions with the dog.

Additionally, the arrival of a new baby can have the same effect. Your dog urinating on a diaper bag is not a sign of their disapproval of the baby, so much as a reaction to new smells and noises and the potential lack of attention they are now receiving.

Essentially, any person or animal who regularly brings new smells into the home and disturbs the social hierarchy could cause your dog to mark their territory.

WHY Do Dogs Urine Mark?

Dogs are territorial animals.

That is a fact, and when they want to say, “this is my spot,” they tell other people and animals by marking it using an assortment of ways.

One of the most common examples is when your dog barks to warn potential interlopers that they are about to trespass on his grounds. Some dogs will take this territory marking to the next level by urinating (or defecating, which is uncommon) in a certain spot.

Dogs use urine marking to show their dominance and to mark what they think belongs to them.

For dogs, urine is not gross or undesirable, in fact it is interesting and exciting and a way of signing their name to something.  It is also a way to sense what other dogs have been in the neighborhood and a way to show confidence and to advertise mating availability!

Common Causes of Urine Marking:

1.    Social Triggers 

Exciting social situations can trigger urine marking. Some male dogs only urine mark when in the presence of female dogs (especially if they’re in heat), and some urine mark only when interacting with other male dogs. Some dogs only urine mark when visiting homes where other dogs have urine marked before. Other dogs only urine mark when they become highly aroused and overstimulated in social situations. These dogs often mark nearby objects, people or other dogs.

2.     Anxiety 

Some dog’s urine mark when they experience anxiety. Anxious dogs might deposit greater amounts of urine than dogs marking for other reasons. They might also urine mark on spots that aren’t vertical surfaces. A number of events can cause anxiety and trigger urine marking, including the presence of new objects, furniture or luggage in a dog’s environment, the departure of a resident from a dog’s home, a new person moving into the home, and conflict between a dog and people or other animals in the home.

3.     Something New in the Environment 

Some dog’s urine mark when they encounter nonresident dogs in their environments or smell urine left in their environments by other dogs. A dog’s environment may encompass his home, his yard, the route he usually takes when on walks, friends’ homes he regularly visits, and parks or other locations he frequents.

4.     Your Dog is in Heat 

Dogs who are reproductively intact (non-spayed females and nonnon-neutered males) are more likely to urine mark than spayed or neutered dogs. In unspayed females, urine marking usually happens more frequently just before and while they’re in heat.

An insecure dog may begin marking.  Dogs that enter a new home, have the addition of a baby or another pet may also feel the need to mark.

This is an instinct in the beginning when the behavior starts, that can become a conditioned behavior.  It is important to stop this behavior early before it becomes a habit or a conditioned behavior. So below I’ll give you some ideas on how to stop a male dog from marking everything he thinks belongs to him.

What Does Urine Marking Do?

In most cases, dogs mark their territory with a small amount of urine. They tend to lift their back leg and urinate on an object or area, thus claiming it as their own. This is called urine-marking.

Regardless, how does peeing somewhere get the message across that this is their territory?

A dog’s urine contains heaps upon heaps of information within its scent about that specific dog, something that is lost on us humans. Simply through the scent of the urine, another dog can know the sex, maturity and social status of the one who left the scent. You could say that urine acts like a canine business card.

Females in heat are prone to urinating in a similar way, but here the hormones and pheromones in their urine signal interested males from afar.

A dominant, alpha dog will be more inclined to mark their territory in a greater number of places, leaving a figurative – and sometimes literal – scent trail of destruction in his wake, while a more submissive one may lift their leg in only two or three places while they’re out. However, just because there is less marking doesn’t mean that there’s no problem.

It should be noted that not all male dogs will cock their leg when marking their territory, although this is the most common way. Additionally, despite common misconceptions, some females raise their leg to mark their territory too.

Also, in some extreme cases, dogs may even release large amounts of urine or even defecate to show something or somewhere is theirs.

Do All Male Dogs Mark?

Not all dogs mark, however spaying and neutering at an early age is best!

Most dogs that do mark begin marking when they reach sexual maturity (depending on the size of your dog) between 6 months to a year old.

Small breeds tend to mark more than larger breeds and intact males tend to mark more than neutered males or females.  Although many intact females may begin marking prior to going into heat to let the other dogs in the neighborhood know she is available.

What to Do When Your Dog Starts Marking:

Keep it from happening!

Most dogs that are spayed or neutered will not begin marking (and yes females can mark too, although it is rarer than when the males do it.)

Testosterone plays a key role in urine marking, so neutering at ANY age can help even if the behavior has been conditioned.

Prevention is a much better cure than dealing with a behavior problem! 

I recommend spaying and neutering at about 16 weeks old or when your vet has finished up your puppy’s shots.

Unneutered dogs are more likely to mark their territory by spraying urine all throughout your house or other people’s belongings. Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people and inanimate objects after he’s neutered. An additional benefit is that aggression problems may be avoided or mitigated if you neuter your dog early in life.

Neutering is a great option in general, however, if you’re planning on breeding your dog, then neutering is likely not a realistic possibility.

Supervise as Much as You Can!

You must catch your dog IN THE ACT of marking to let him know that what he is doing is wrong!  Again, this is instinctual for him to mark what he considers “his things”.  So you must be able to catch him and tell him NO.

Keep him on a leash or a tie down with you for many days.  If you cannot watch him, keep him in his crate. Treat him like an 8-week-old puppy and keep him confined to small spaces that you are in, until you are certain he is not going to mark.

Do not tell your dog that he’s bad long after the fact. If you come home and find a puddle of urine from several hours before, then proceed to start disciplining your dog, your dog will be confused and hurt. It doesn’t understand that it’s in trouble for something that happened hours ago. It only knows that it’s in trouble now. 

Negative reinforcement, in general, is less effective than positive reinforcement, but negative reinforcement long after the incident does nothing but hurt and confuse your pet, thus perpetuating more bad behavior. 

Supervising is a great option, because then your dog will know what’s wrong when it does something wrong. It allows you to effectively prevent and change your dog’s behavior.

Learn to Control the Behavior

I don’t mind my dog lifting his leg in HIS yard when he is NOT on leash.  But I do NOT allow him to lift his leg on everything while we walk or run.

He must squat to pee to relieve his bladder while he is on a leash or only lift his leg when I tell him it is okay to do so.

I don’t want him to get used to lifting his leg and marking everything all the time.  Walks and runs are my time and I won’t be pulled to every tree so that he can sniff and pee!

Clean Up When Your Dog Marks

Clean up the urine spots well with a urine enzyme cleaner.  If he can still smell the urine, he is more likely to re-mark the area again and again.

If there is ONE favorite spot, I recommend feeding him in that spot.  Dogs will not usually urinate where they eat, so moving his food bowl for a week or two might be effective.  However, if you are not careful about supervising him, he will just begin marking somewhere else!

Belly Bands Can Sometimes Work to Stop Your Dog from Marking

Belly bands which is like a male dog’s diaper can also be effective.

I am more of a believer in training and supervision than I am in belly bands that can easily be taken off or chewed through; but some people swear by them. 

Dogs don’t want to pee on themselves so one leg lifting in a belly band can be just enough to curb the behavior of even a chronic leg lifter.

Solutions for Marking Both Indoors and Outdoors

If your dog marks in your home, then your first order of business will be determining the cause of the marking. 

Ponder and investigate whether it is a temporary or isolated event, or whether there might be underlying anxiety. If there is an underlying anxiety – such as separation anxiety when you’re not at home – then you will need to find and resolve the cause.

When bringing new upright objects (plants) or furniture into the home or when moving into a new home, supervise your dog, on a leash if necessary, as it explores the new objects or new home. As the dog gets accustomed to the new surroundings, you can begin to allow it some freedom.

Not all specific anxieties will receive the same treatment.

Separation anxiety is very different from social anxiety. Treatments vary, depending upon the cause of the anxiety. Ensure that all training is reward based and that your dog has a regular and stimulating routine of exercise and play. At times when you are not playing, training, exercising, or supervising, your dog should learn to settle down either to take a nap or play with its own toys. 

If the problem is related to fear or anxiety toward another dog in the home, then separation, gradual supervised reintroduction and a program of desensitization and counterconditioning may need to be implemented.

If the pet is marking due to anxiety about noises or being separated from the owner, then these problems will need to be addressed.

Supervision – Both Indoors and Outside

When you are available to supervise, you should be playing, training or exercising your dog, or ensuring that it is sufficiently occupied and relaxed that there is no attempt or desire to mark. Should your pet start to wander away or head toward objects that have been previously marked, you can prevent problems by interrupting your dog with a verbal command or leash and giving him an activity to keep him occupied. 

By keeping a leash on your dog, you will be able to prevent your dog from wandering off and marking and can inhibit your dog should pre-marking signs begin.

When you cannot supervise, confine your dog to an area where marking is unlikely to occur or place him in an area such as an outdoor run where marking would be acceptable. 

If you know the specific stimuli for marking then you might be able to keep your dog away from the windows, doors, plants or furniture where he might mark by confinement or by using booby traps in the area. Booby traps can also be used to prevent access to specific areas.

If there is urine residue from other dogs on your property, use an odor neutralizer to remove the smell.

When taking your dog outdoors, you should give rewards to reinforce marking at sites where marking is permitted, and you should not permit marking anywhere else.

As was stated earlier, when it comes to marking outdoors, or even inside, the best way to stop your dog’s marking behavior is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Do not let your dog stop and mark the landscape while you are going for walks. Control the behavior. Supervise.

Be patient!

This is instinctual and can be difficult to curb, but if you put in the effort you will be able to stop a male dog from marking!

Source: The Dog Training Secret