How To Train A Small Dog To Stop Jumping Up On People

Wanna know how to train a small dog to stop jumping up on people?  It’s the same way you teach a large dog to stop jumping up on people:  Consistency, Timing and Motivation.

Train A Small Dog To
Stop Jumping Up On People

First: We need to be 100% clear to the dog that jumping up one people is never allowed (unless of course we give him a command to jump up, first). If the dog doesn’t first hear his “Jump up” command… then he’s going to get a leash correction.  I explain more on how to give a leash correction in my book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!”

So, we can say anything we like to the dog… as long as it’s not his name or his “jump up” command.  I’ll tap my pants, yell the words, “Carmel Popcorn!” and dance around like a fool… anything I can think of that might tempt the dog.  And no, it’s not unfair– because you’re going to be consistent about correcting your dog for jumping up.

Train A Small Dog To Stop Jumping Up On People

Second:  You must say, “No!” and give you dog the leash correction at the moment that he jumps up on people.  If this means that you need to make you dog wear a leash or a tab (a short leash) around the house until he has proven himself to be 100% proofed… then so be it.  Having the leash and collar on your dog is the only way you’ll be able to make sure your correction happens when he jumps.  It’s also one of the few ways to give a motivational correction, if you want to train a small dog to stop jumping up… but more on that, later.

But what if it takes you a few seconds to get to your dog and administer a correction?

That’s okay.  As long as you say the word, “No!” at the very moment your dog jumps up… and then keep repeating, “No, no, no,” as you go to your dog and correct him– then he’ll still be able to associate the correction with the behavior.  Saying, “No, no, no,” is a bridging technique and it forces your dog to stay focused on what he just did.  You’ll need to move toward him with quickness and authority, so that you keep his attention.

And finally, your correction must be motivational.  Say, “No!” and then correct your dog with the leash.  But here’s the kicker: I want you to immediately tempt your dog to jump up, again.  (Just don’t use his name or his, “jump up” command!).  Now, if your dog immediately jumps up again, this tells you that your last correction wasn’t motivational enough: Do it again, but this time do it more firmly.  There is a trick to getting a good, motivational correction– but I’m not gonna go in that, here (hint: It’s in the book!)

In this video, you’ll see a couple of very sweet, very easy dogs.  You can see that a quick tug and release on the leash is all that’s needed to get our point across.


Dog counter surfing and jumping up on the backs of people legs

Phyllis writes to me:

Hi Adam, I have read your book on dog obedience training twice and searched the forums but haven’t found a good answer to my questions. I have a 4 1/2 month old German Shorthair/Lab mix named BooBoo. She is an assertive but not really aggressive dog. She has already become dominant mostly to our 5 year old Shepherd mix. My questions are: 1) how do we keep her from counter surfing. We have tried the mousetraps on the counter but she wised up to those after just one snap. She simply ignored any “set up” food we place behind a mousetrap (even when we hid it in a folded paper towel) or if she can, she gets around the trap to get to the food. She has even moved the trap to get to the food before. She is not frightened by loud noises so I can’t use the loud pans trick. I have also tried putting a tab leash on her but she just chews on the end of it whenever she can. And it is hard to grab her tab when I am several feet away from her while she gets her paws up on the counter. By the time I get to her, she is already down. Should I be correcting her even after she has gotten down? One more thing, I have gotten her to stop jumping on me in front, but she’ll come up from behind and bounce off my the back of my legs and be gone before I can turn and correct her. Other than these problems, she is adorable, I must say! Thanks for any help. Phyllis

Adam replies:

Hi, Phyllis:

What you’re going to need to do with this dog is: Use the crate when you cannot supervise her, until she is 100%. When you set her up, correct her with the pinch collar and tab/leash. If she’s chewing the tab, this tells me that you’re not keeping a close enough eye on her. (Hint: To make it easier on your pocket book, use a harness snap and a piece short piece of rope you can buy from a hardware store, both for under $1).

Just to make sure you’re understanding correctly: Take the collar and tab off, when you put her in the crate.

In regard to correcting her after she’s gotten down: That’s where the bridging technique comes in. As soon as she does the behavior — even if you’re on the other side of the room– you need to yell, “No, no, no” as you run to her and administer the behavior. By saying “No,” right at the moment she does it, you’re creating a virtual snap shot in her mind, and by continuing to say “no, no, no” as you run to her, you’re forcing her to remember what she’s being corrected for. Studies I’ve read suggest you have at least 7 to 9 seconds after the behavior, as long as you’re using that bridging technique. So, yes; You should be correcting her after she’s jumped back down off the counter, as long as you’ve said, “No!”

In regard to the jumping while behind you: Same deal. Say, “No!” and then grab that tab or leash and administer your correction. If you’re using the pinch collar and leash correctly (loose-tight-loose) this behavior should be eliminated, very quickly. If not, then your correction isn’t firm enough.

Keep me posted,
– Adam.

Training Your Dog To Climb Into Your Truck

My dog, Louie, is a 3-year old neutered shar pei that I’ve had less than a year. He is somewhat timid, not aggressive, but typically shar pei stubborn and too smart! When I got him he had never been on a leash or in a car or house (lived in a kennel). He does really well with the prong collar and is housebroken. He’s my best buddy!

My problems? I live in a 2-story townhouse and I’d like to teach him to climb the stairs so that he occupies more than 1/2 the house — I would like him to be with me. I call him but he won’t go up the stairs. I’d also like to teach him to get into my truck — I cannot lift him, he weighs 60 pounds — I would like him to go places with me and enjoy the ride. He fights me when I try to get him in the truck.

He loves to go for walks. Right now I use a 15′ retractible leash with the prong collar but he does not pull. When I use that or the 6′ he walks on a loose leash.
I cannot drag him up on the box using “climb” like you recommend in your book (Get in the Car, page 136).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Hi, Elizabeth:

What I recommend is: Use the 6′ leash. Start with a smaller platform and teach him to get up on the box. (Don’t use a high platform like I’m using in this video… but you’ll have to make him get up there, like I do in the video below).

It’s a constant pull, and then you relax the leash, as soon as he’s up there. Start with a very low platform, say the command and then make him get up there. Have a friend help you if you need to, in the beginning– but the trick is: Make him get up there, and fast. Stand on one side of the platform if you need to and pull. At 60lbs., it should be that big of a deal. Drag him up there if you need to.

If he likes food, you can reward him once he’s up there.

After you’ve got him jumping up on command to the one platform, then take him to a higher platform. You can do the same with your truck: Put the platform next to the truck and initially, make him jump first to the platform then into the truck. Later you can back the truck up to the curb and have him jump from the curb into the truck, and then eventually transition to the ground– up to the truck.

As for walking up stairs… it’s pretty much just the heel. Lock your arms down to your groin area with the leash folded in half, and walk… up… the… stairs. Do not stop walking. The idea (from the previous climb exercise) is that the dog learns that moving in the direction that you’re pulling will relax the tension on the leash.

You can also try letting him see you prepare his food, and then put the food up on the fourth step.


More Details On The Dog “Jumping Up” Problem

[ROSE REPLIES:] Thanks. That was so much more visually descriptive. Save that email and incorporate it into your e-zine. Lately, the dog has been getting so excited when we begin our walk that he keeps juming up on me as we walk. Do I pop the leash down toward the ground and make him drop to stop this, i.e., the correction is just the opposite?

[ADAM RESPONDS:] It doesn’t matter really, for the jumping up. As long as it’s a negative, and it happens RIGHT when the dog does it, and it’s motivational… the dog will drop the behavior. I went out on a date with a woman last week who was a client of another dog trainer I know. But this other dog trainer uses inferior techniques for companion dog training, as far as I’m concerned.

She’d been working on fixing the jumping up behavior for more than a month, by giving the dog food when she didn’t jump. Well, needless to say, the dog was still jumping up on me. I hate that. So, I ran to my truck and grabbed a pinch collar from my box of dog training tricks. In less than 2 minutes, I’d fitted the collar on the dog and had to only correct her twice. For the rest of the evening, she wouldn’t jump up on either of us. 😉 It’s all about making sure your corrections have meaning.

[ROSE:] Ok, I’ll try it. The embarrassing part are the zillion dog owners in the neighborhood who will probably think I’m abusive. We just bought a house on the bluff overlooking the blah, blah, blah… and there are approximately 33 acres of undeveloped land where everyone plays with their dogs and watches everyone else… oh well, hopefully they’ll only see it happen a couple of times 🙂

[ADAM:] Disregard what they think. If you know you’re doing the right thing (which, if you follow the instructions in my book, I can guarantee you are) then you have nothing to worry about. Plus, it’s none of their business. Thirty years ago, everyone thought it was “horrid” to sit at the same lunch counter with African-Americans. They “thought” it was wrong. My point is: Don’t live your life worrying about what other people think is right or wrong. Instead, DO what IS right, and eventually, they’ll come around when they see that your dog is so well-behaved. Especially when their dog is still jumping up on people.


How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Jumping On The Fence?

Basically, the dog needs to associate a negative experience with jumping up on the fence. But, this negative experience must have three things going for it.

First, the negative must happen right as he is jumping up on the fence. Second, it must be motivational. Kinda like when a cop gives you a ticket for speeding, but the ticket is only for $2, you’ll probably wait until you get 100 tickets before you even consider changing your behavior. But, if it’s a good $250 ticket, it won’t take too many (maybe one or two) to make you stop speeding. In other words, you must find your dog’s sensitivity level.

For behavior modification, I’d tend to error on the side of slightly over correcting, rather than under correcting. You don’t care if the dog never jumps up on the fence again, and you don’t care if he has a poor attitude when it comes to it. (Unlike obedience exercises.)

Bottom line is that the correction must be motivational. And third, he must get the correction every time he does the behavior. Again, if it’s a motivational correction, he’ll only try it once, twice, or at the most, three or four times before deciding it’s not in his best interest. What should you do? You can try several things. Have a kid hide on the other side of the fence with a high powered garden hose. Tempt him to jump up on the fence. When he does, blast him! You can also set him up with a training collar and tab (short leash) and go out and give him a correction when he does it, but make sure you keep the dog confined when you can’t be there to correct the behavior.

At night, confine him to either a crate or a dog run… so he can’t do the behavior and not get corrected for it. (Or if you go out to dinner, and leave him unsupervised.) Until he drops the behavior, he can’t be allowed to do it and not get corrected. So, everytime he has a chance to do it, you must be in a position to correct him.

There are at least three more ways to do this.

1.) Take a sunday afternoon. Put the training collar, and the 1 foot leash on the dog, and leave him in the backyard…. but keep your eye on him through the kitchen window. Have the kid in the next yard create a ruckus, and when the dog jumps up on the fence, you immediately yell “No, no, no!” as you run out the door, and up to the dog, and correct. (No, no, no forces him to remember what he’s being corrected for.) Even if he’s no longer got his feet on the wall, he should be able to associate the correction with the behavior (within 7 to 12 seconds after the fact.)

2.) You can get a boundary and perimeter electric containment system. The collar will be triggered when he jumps up on the fence. Or you can do the same thing with an electric collar. Set the collar to your dogs sensitivity level (check the manual)…. and watch him through the window. When the dog jumps on the wall, you push the button. Shouldn’t take more than catching him twice before he never jumps on the wall again.

3.) The poor man’s solution is to glue mouse traps (not rat traps!) to the top of the fence, so when the dog jumps up…. “snap!” he receives a negative. This also works well for house plants, too!


Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up… Forever!

Jumping up is a behavior problem that is a professional dog trainer’s dream. Why? Because it is a problem that will plague and annoy dog owners for years, yet can be easily fixed by the professional trainer in a matter of minutes.

However, the key to teaching your dog not to jump up lies in proper application of any number of anti-jumping techniques. This article will explain both the conventional methods for fixing this behavior, and the tricks professional trainers use to make them work.

As puppies, dog owners often think that jumping up is “cute”. However, when the puppy gets older, it stops being so “cute”. Bigger dogs can actually knock an individual over, and smaller dogs can be, at the least, obnoxious. In order to make the following techniques work, they must be employed consistently.

Your dog doesn’t know the difference between jumping up on an old pair of denim gardening jeans and jumping up on a freshly cleaned tuxedo. As far as your dog is concerned, “Either I’m allowed to jump up, or I’m not.”

Technique: The “knee to the chest” trick Conventional application of this technique: As the dog jumps up, quickly bring your knee into the dog’s chest. In theory, the dog will receive a negative for jumping up and won’t want to jump anymore.

Why the conventional application of this technique DOESN’T WORK! Everyone’s tried this technique. It is in all the dog training books and all the dog magazines. But nobody gets results with this technique due to improper application.

Professional trainer’s application of this technique: As you bring your knee up, it must hit the dog’s chest squarely in the center, making a hollow “thud” sound. Instead of pivoting to the side, lean into the dog. It needs to be quick and fast, so that it utterly surprises the dog.

Correct application of this technique will mean that you will be giving the dog the same type of knee to the chest you would use on a soccer ball. The reason this technique doesn’t work for most people is that the correction (the knee to the chest) isn’t motivational. It should be a quick “bump”. Now, make no mistake, you don’t want to do damage or injury to the dog. But you must do this technique with a lot of motivation. Unless you’re built like Arnold Schwartzenegger, and you own a toy poodle, it’s probably going to be pretty difficult for you to over-correct your dog in the first place.

Next, lean backwards and tap your chest while you tempt the dog to jump up again. This is the most important part. You want your dog to decide for himself that it’s better to sit and receive praise than to jump up and get a correction. If the correction is motivational, you’ll only have to repeat this exercise three or four times. For best results, have two or three different friends also perform this technique on your dog. Do this at the park, in the house, in the backyard, and on the street. Anywhere you can create a situation where you think the dog might jump up, use it as a training opportunity.

An interesting by-product of this technique: With the correct application of this technique, you will notice that your dog will probably start sitting and looking straight up at you. He sees this as an alternative method of getting your attention. When your dog does this, praise him profusely. Pretty soon, anytime he wants attention, he’ll make the choice to sit like a gentleman until given praise.

Alternative technique: The “Snap the leash downwards” trick. Conventional application of this technique: As the dog jumps up, quickly say, “No!” and snap the leash downwards.

Why the conventional application of this technique DOESN’T WORK! Very simply, the correction isn’t motivational. If a police officer gave you a ticket for speeding 145 miles per hour, but the ticket was only for $2, you’d be given a correction… but the correction would have no meaning. In short, if you don’t get results with this technique, it’s probably because your corrections aren’t motivational.

Professional trainer’s application of this technique: Do whatever you have to do to make the correction motivational. If you administer a leash correction, and immediately tempt the dog to jump up… and he does, then you can be sure your correction wasn’t motivational. The proper use and fitting of a pinch collar is recommended if you can’t get a good correction with whatever collar you’ve been using.

Alternative technique: The “Grab the dog’s toes and pinch as he jumps up” trick. This “trick” is popular with many people, but the reality is that it just doesn’t work.

Why the conventional application of this technique DOESN’T WORK! It’s virtually impossible to give a motivational correction with this technique Professional trainer’s application of this technique: In general, professional trainers don’t use this one.


Golden Retriever Jumping On People


Goldens are strong and muscular dogs and can cause problems if they jump on people.

Your dog can’t jump on people if he is sitting as it’s physically impossible to do both things at the same time. Since your dog jumps on people for attention, teaching him to sit when you pet him can eliminate the jumping.

When you come home from work and your dog is excited to see you, don’t try to greet him with your arms full. Instead, greet him with empty hands. Then, when he tries to jump, grab him by the collar or the scruff of the neck and tell him to sit. When he sits, praise him by saying, “Good boy to sit!” and pet him enthusiastically. If he tries to jump up again, use your hands to put him back into the sitting position.

If your dog is really excited and it’s hard for him to control himself, have him sit and roll him over onto his back and give him a belly rub and a massage. This is still giving him the attention he needs but it is relaxing him at the same time.

You can also use the leash to teach your dog not to jump. When you are out for a walk and see your neighbor, don’t let your neighbor pet your Golden until you make him sit. If he starts to jump on the neighbor, use a snap and release of the leash and a verbal correction by saying, “No jump! Sit.” Use the same technique when guests come to your house; leash your dog before they come in.

The key to correcting the problem of your dog jumping on people is to make sure that the bad behavior is not rewarded. If someone pets your dog when he jumps up, the bad behavior is rewarded. When he learns that he gets all of the attention when he is sitting, then he will start sitting automatically for petting and when he does, praise him enthusiastically. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

How To Train Your Dog For The High Jump

With your dog present in front of you, erect both jumps, configuring them at low height and setting them ten feet apart. Do it again. Then walk your dog to a point between the obstacles and a dozen feet behind them.

Aim the animal toward the High Jump, and command, “Stay.” Walk to an equidistant spot, relative to the obstacles and the dog. Emphatically point and step toward the High Jump and command, “Hup.” As your dog sails over the correct jump, praise, “Good dog,” and take him back to the starting point. Command, “Stay,” return to the location opposite the animal’s, and repeat the exercise. Do the routine twice more, then end the session. On the next day, repeat the preceding exercise once.

Then “Stay” your companion, having first aligned him toward the other obstacle, the Bar Jump. Return to your command location, and – adding pronounced body language – command him over this second jump. If he does as well with it as he did with the first hurdle – and he probably will – great! Now the work is gradually raising the jumps’ heights, repositioning them until they’re eighteen to twenty feet apart, phasing out aligning pooch toward either jump, and starting him from at least twenty feet.

During the teaching sequence, should your pet take any action other than the correct one, don’t chastise him. Perform some work at which he excels (to finish high), and call it a day. Initiate a more structured method tomorrow. Directed Jumping – Structured Method Begin by leaving your dog on a “Sit-Stay”, fifteen feet from and facing a Standard High Jump. Walk to the hurdle’s opposite side and command, “Hup.” Skip the finish. Repeat the exercise, but this time move leftward a few feet as your pet leaves the ground; turning to face him as he lands. Run through this routine three more times, then close the session.

Start the next period by leaving your dog on a Sit-Stay, fifteen feet from and facing a standard High Jump. Walk to the obstacle’s other side, and after standing there for a few seconds, move a few feet to your left. Adding an exaggerated hand signal, verbally command your dog over the jump. (Should he attempt to run to you, block him and repeat the “Hup” command while gesturing toward the obstacle. If need be, lift him over the hurdle.) Repeat this new procedure three times before ending the period.

Over the next few sessions, gradually position yourself farther left until you’re twenty feet removed from the centerline between the two jumps. Though less distance is required in competition, the extra-mile principle operates here by saying to your dog that he’s to clear the indicated obstacle regardless how far you are from it. The next stage is steadily moving your pet’s starting point to your left (his right). “Sit-Stay” your friend three feet left of the two jumps’ centerline, and walk to a point opposite his new starting position. Adding excessive body language (stepping and pointing toward the desired jump), command, “Hup.”