A sweet little puppy who energetically jumps and bounces on everyone he comes in contact with can be cute and adorable. When that puppy grows to a full-size dog and continues the same behaviors, it's an annoyance, and depending on the size of the dog, can even be dangerous. It's best for everyone if you train your puppy from a young age that jumping up on others is an unacceptable behavior.
Puppies get their start in life playing with and grabbing the attention of littermates by jumping, pouncing, nipping and rolling around in fun. Your puppy will start his exuberant jumping on you as a sign of affection and as a way of getting you to notice him. Rewarding the behavior will only encourage it to continue, so right from the start, ignore jumping behavior and issue a command, such as “off.” When your puppy is still, reward the behavior, and if jumping starts up again, turn away and don’t interact with him so he doesn't get positive reinforcement for his jumpiness.
Put your puppy through a formal obedience training program. Consider a group class that gives your pup a chance to interact with other people and learn appropriate behaviors. In this type of setting, your puppy should be leashed when he's with you, which can give you greater control over him when he begins to jump. While your dog is sure to be excited at new people, places and things, when he starts to jump, gently pull him down and say “off,” or follow whatever directions your class leader has for maintaining control and teaching basic commands.
Continue positive “no jump” training at home. If you're having people over, you may find it easier to control jumping by keeping your dog on a leash and gently pulling him back and issuing your command if he attempts to jump on visitors. Instruct others to not pick up a jumping puppy, which is exactly what your pup wants to have happen. Ask others to withhold affection and attention if the puppy is jumping, but reward him with treats when he follows your directions. If a leash is too onerous to have on constantly, you can direct your puppy out of a jump by holding his collar, but use great caution not to choke or pull your pup, or you may hurt him and create a sense of mistrust.
Repetition, practice and patience are the keys to rearing a puppy who understands jumping is an unacceptable behavior. Be consistent in repeating your commands. If you're having a tough time with training, employ the help of a friend or neighbor to come into your home and interact with your dog under controlled circumstances. If jumping continues to persist, ask your vet for a full check-up and advice. If your dog has unusually high levels of anxiety and impulse-control issues, medication may be helpful in curbing this unwanted behavior.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.