Jumping up at their handlers during walks is a common behavior in adolescent dogs, but it can also occur with puppies and adult dogs. Usually, this behavior occurs when the dog becomes overly excited and has not been taught appropriate ways to direct this extra energy. Below are tips for helping with this behavior.
Steps to Take Before the Walk
- Start each walk calmly. Use a calm tone of voice to avoid exciting your dog and avoid using words or terms that can excite them, such as “do you want to go for a walk!?”
- If your dog starts jumping or barking when you reach for their leash, remain calm. Ask for a sit. If they don’t know sit, wait until all four paws are on the floor.
- If your dog jumps up as you go to clip the leash, put it back and walk away. Clip the leash to the collar or harness only if your dog can remain sitting or can at least keep all four paws on the floor.
- Only open the door when all four of your dog’s feet are on the floor. They can be sitting or standing, just not jumping up!
Steps to Take While On the Walk
- Give your dog lots of praise and super yummy treats whenever they have all four feet on the ground. For treats, we recommend using real food such as chicken, cheese or hot dogs, cut up into tiny, pea-sized pieces.
- Only release the treat from your hand if your dog has all four feet on the ground. This helps your dog learn that only having all their feet on the ground will result in treats.
- Move your hand swiftly down to your dog’s muzzle so that he does not have to raise his head at all to take the treat. If you bring the treat down slowly, your dog is more likely to jump up to try to get it faster.
- Or, instead of handing the treats to your dog, drop the treats on the ground.
- If your dog jumps up to intercept the treat as you are bringing it down, calmly raise your hand to take it away.
- Whenever you stop walking, at crosswalks for example, ask your dog to sit. This helps your dog remain calm.
- Give a treat every few seconds while your dog remains sitting to reinforce this calm behavior.
- Be generous! The more treats your dog gets at this stage, the faster they will learn.
- If your dog jumps, stop walking and ask for a sit. Praise when they sit and then continue walking.
- Do NOT punish your dog by yelling, hitting or kneeing them in the chest. This can hurt and confuse your dog or cause them to get more excited and jump up more frantically.
Contact our Behavior Specialists at [email protected] or (212) 876-7700 x4191