How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping




About: The pre-neopostmodern electro-Amish man using sense and caution when voiding any warranty.

This was one of the instructables Burning Questions, and since we had recently been through correcting several bad behaviors of Murphy's (our little Jack Rat) I thought I might have some helpful tips - I am not a dog trainer by any means - Murphy is the first dog that I have had in 30 years and what follows is what worked for us.

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Step 1: The Set Up - Bribery

I think the dog should first know a few key words and have clear associations with them. The best first word? How about "Cookie"? It will make everything else easier and funner for your pup to learn.

As with all lessons you wish to help your dog with, repetition and consistency are key. With Murph it took about half an hour to get the basic idea of "cookie". We really let her pig out the first day. We'd hold the cookie where she could see, say "Cookie?", and immediately give her a small piece of the cookie. Then repeat. Repeat again. ...and again. After we were sure that she had the sound of the word associated with the delicious treat we would begin giving them to her at random, but always say the word and immediately follow up with the reward. After a day she was a junkie. She will now do anything for a cookie, and since she knows where they are kept she will run to them any time she hears the word.

If your dog doesn't like cookies, use whatever they show a serious preference for. If you have a good relationship they will let you know what works for them! Just be sure to heap the praise on them whenever they get their special treat - it make it all the more rewarding for them and they will associate praise with the treat.

Step 2: The Pay Off

Once your dog has demonstrated a preference for a reward you can add words to their vocabulary. In the case of this instructable "Down" is a good choice. "Sit" is similar, and would be taught in an almost identical manner. The difference between "Down" and "Sit", in my (and Murph's) mind: "Down" is my reaction to a bad behavior while "Sit" is a 'trick' she gets to perform to get a cookie.

When we eat at the table or I sit in a chair and work on the laptop Murph developed a terrible habit of jumping on your lap and/or begging for attention by jumping all over you. This was also a nuisance for any and all house guests because poor Murph would just go insane with joy all over them.

I will admit that it was next to impossible to get her to listen when she was stark raving mad. Not even the promise of a cookie could calm her. So I had to get her to learn "Down" outside of those circumstances. When she was calm and would get on the couch I would say "Murph - down" and put her down on the floor. Then give her a small piece of dog cookie. At first she would eat the cookie and jump right back on the couch. So again "No, down" in a nice friendly voice and lift her back to the floor and a piece of cookie. Then if she would act like she was going to jump up I would put my hand on her haunches with only enough pressure to prevent her from jumping up while repeating "Down, Murphy. Good girl!" After she showed some inclination toward understanding we would delay the cookie a bit. It was not long (a day or so) before if she were on the couch and I said "Down" she would get down - no cookie required. Again, repetition is most important. The more times in a row the quicker she gets it.

This meant that we were ready to associate "Down" to the other circumstances and not just the couch. Every time she jumped on us we would say "Down" - she already new the word, sometimes we would have to get firm and say it 3 or 4 times, but she would get down. The heap the praise and get a cookie!

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    16 Discussions

    he never said the dog was 30, he said he hasn't had a dog in 30 years until now. btw nice instructable red. and for my shih tzu we give him a "cookie" after he does his duties outside. haha. but not for anything else, or thats just spoiling the thing, but i dont think my dog would care considering hes 8 years old and lazy.

    OH!!! hahaha My Bad!! (lol cause i no dogs record life is like mabe 18 ... MABE...) lol my dog is 9 yo yorkshire terrior :-)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    True Andrew, but if the "7 dog years to one human year" thing is correct then that makes your yorkie 63! (and our beagle would be 91).


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Murphy sure is spoiled, that is true. She also gets a cookie for getting busy in the yard - which inspires her to force us to watch, just to make sure she gets credit for it! Murph just turned 2, btw.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    you have nice little dog. my dog is by no means little she is a golden retriever with some kind of shepard mixed in and she is huge she is 1 and super cute when sleeping she does have some behavior problems tho when u ignore her she bites u gently and then gets harder if u continue but we taught her no bite as a command she will listen then decides to scratch us and bark but the threat of making her go in her kennel makes her behave.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just seeing the pics of the puppy made my heart melt :D


    10 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for the tips , funny Instructable, don't worry buddy your dog will not need therapy! thats the good thing about dogs they will sincerely love you until the minute they die .... so all you have to do is make sure you earn that kind of devotion while they live ,keep you company and protect you and yours whit their lives if it is necessary.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, "Down" is a command in the same way that "Sit" is a command - it means to lie down. What we normally tell dogs (and cats) when they do something wrong is "OFF!" "Off" means stop what you're doing, look at me, and listen for further instructions. Unless, of course, the cat's on the kitchen counter, in which case he knows that "Off" really does mean "get the hell off the counter!" "Off" also works in the case where dog jumps on people, whether family, friends, guests, or burglars, since it still means "Stop, Look, and Listen for more!" This differentiation has always worked with my dogs over the past 50 years.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    So you took a nice dog, never hurt anyone, dressed it in a hula skirt and put a chain on it, took pictures, and posted them on the Internet. Does this sound like doggie cruelty, harassment, and abuse to anyone else? If you have to use a word for your treat, I suggest using a word that is not a common household word like cookie. I never use a word for the treat. For treats I get a package of chicken or turkey hot dogs, slice them paper thin, and put them in a baggie in my pocket. At our dog obedience class, everyone showed up with the treats costing $2 for a dozen treats. I had about 500 treats for less than a dollar. Furthermore my dog NEVER tired of the treats while everyone else's dogs were ignoring their owners after a few rewards. The unfortunate downside of using hot dogs is that my daughters sometimes have to fight the dog for lunch. However, just being in the fragrant presence of hot dogs makes my dog very attentive and uncommonly obedient. I have also found that my dog responds immediately to a stern voice or my growl to "punish" a negative behavior rather than using a calm voice to say "no." I have also found that dogs, cats, horses, and even children respond immediately to a 1-second burst of one to three growling vocalizations. I usually allow my dog to jump on me but not on anyone else. When I don't want her to jump on me I show the palm of my hand to her nose (which is looking up ready to jump) and give her the growl. Now I can hold my palm flat at waist level without bending over to stop her from jumping on me in my "church" clothes. If she looks like she's going to jump on someone else, my growl will stop her.

    4 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Something to be thoughtful of- While "growling" a command works with most pets and just about any child, some breeds of dogs can react badly to harsh commands. For example the particular dog that I own, a Vizsla, is naturally timid. Issuing overly stern commands makes this breed extremely apprehensive, and often leads to worse behavior and non-coherence of commands.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I find it not only helps to growl at children but also to keep them on leashes. They also love the hot dog treats. still trying to get mine crate trained though.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I like the idea of the hot dog slivers, and I'm sure Murph would too! We pay $5 for 100, I think. She doesn't ever get tired of them, but we could supplement with the hot dog slivers. Thanks for the tips!