Q&A: How can I stop my small dog from jumping on people?

Question

My newly adopted dog  is a small breed and likes to jump on people to show affection. What can I do?

- Leonard

Answer

It sounds like he is a super affectionate pup, which is a wonderful thing. However, just like we learn how to show affection in certain social situations in a particular way, so should our dogs.

Most people would prefer that larger dogs not jump on them to say hello. It is also wise to teach even the smallest of dogs to greet politely. Doing so will set him up for as many positive social interactions as possible. Also, consider that some people are more fragile (young children and the elderly) and even a small dog jumping up on them could cause scratches.

If you make an effort to manage him to prevent him from being able to jump on people and be reinforced for this (talking and eye contact should be avoided if he jumps), it means you will be helping the habit to be broken by preventing the practice of the behavior. This might mean keeping him on a leash for a while until he learns to say hello while keeping four paws on the floor. If everyone only interacts with him and gives him the occasionally special food reward when his feet are on the ground, he will learn that is the only way to earn what he wants (attention, affection, food, etc.).

Woofs,

Andrea

About Andrea Arden

Andrea can be seen on Animal Planet's shows Dogs 101, Cats 101, Pets 101, America's Cutest Dog and America's Cutest Cat. She is the author of numerous best-selling books on animal behavior and training. Andrea is thrilled to be a part of Pets for Patriots' efforts to help its members successfully adopt and share their lives with shelter pets! Read more...
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