Four paws on the floor

Focus on the behaviour we do want (four paws on the floor) rather than the behaviour we don’t want (jumping up.)

Dogs do what works for them and so most dogs jump up to get our attention. Your dog is likely to jump up at you when they’re excited to see you and want you to interact with them. But it could also be an attempt to communicate that they’re worried about something. You will be able to recognise the difference in body language and context if its not out of excitement.

Top tips

  1. Don’t respond if your dog does jump up- even shouting or pushing your dog away is giving them attention
  2. Do teach your dog to keep all four paws on the floor- more on this later!
  3. Don’t tell your dog off for jumping up- don’t shout, train!
  4. Do persist even if it seems to get worse at first- because it has worked for them previously dogs will try harder at first before learning that it no longer works
  5. Consistency is key, its not ok to jump up at you in the morning when you get up in your pj’s and then shout at them when they do it when you have your best clothes on.

Don’t respond if your dog does jump up

If your dog does jump up at you then don’t react at all. You should stay calm, quiet, turn side on to them and look away from them and wait for them to stop. You can then reward them when all four paws are back on the floor with attention or dropping a treat on floor. If they get excited again and jump just go back to not engaging with them.

Teach your dog to keep all four paws on the floor

Your dog needs to learn that jumping up at you won’t gain them anything, no matter how hard they try. Instead, it’s keeping all four paws on the floor that will get your attention. Make sure you reward your dog with praise when all four paws are on the floor, especially at times when they’d be most likely to jump up.So the second you enter a room, if they aren’t jumping up tell them god and drop treat on floor, wait a second and repeat if paws still on floor. After a few treats try some calm strokes collar to tail. If they start to jump disengage and as soon as paws go on floor reengage with a calm ‘good’ and a treat on floor or strokes. Its important to reward both calmly and if giving treats from the floor so the focus is down rather than up.

Don’t tell your dog off for jumping up

Discouraging your dog from jumping up by telling them off or saying “no, get down” could be rewarding for some dogs as they are getting the attention they are after. In fact, they’re more likely to learn that jumping up gets you to look at them, talk to them and touch them too. Some dogs will find this desirable. But for others, being told off can be distressing and they might become anxious or confused. This anxiety could then cause them to jump up even more in an attempt to make the situation better. So, make sure you stay calm and don’t respond. 

Do persist even if it seems to be getting worse at first

Whenever you stop responding to any behaviour the way your dog is expecting you to, they’re likely to try that same behaviour but harder. They will be determined to get you to react the way you usually would. But then they realise it no longer works and the behaviour reduces- but be aware it may initially get worse before it gets better.

Be consistent

If you’re consistent your dog will quickly learn what works to get your attention and what doesn’t. Without consistency your dog may get confused and try everything to see what behaviour works best. Make sure all your family and friends are on board with training and any visitors who may interact with your dog before they arrive. Use a lead when you have visitors so you can guide your dog away and so they don’t get to practice this behaviour.

Be prepared

If your dog is excitable and jumping up on walks then make sure when you go out you have plenty of their favourite treats ready for interactions with other humans.Keep them at a distance form the person until they are calm and you have checked the person wants to interact. Then allow them to approach calmly, if they jump then you stop the interaction until they are calm again. You can then reward them for four paws on the floor by putting some treats on the floor for them, so they have something to keep them busy while you interact with the other person.