From your dog’s perspective, jumping is a powerful and effective tool to get what they want. Jumping lets them snatch food off counters, lick your face, and knock things out of your hands. Puppies love to jump, but what looks cute and harmless becomes more of a nuisance as they gain their adult size and strength. Impulse control does not come naturally to many dogs and has to be trained and practiced. It has important safety applications as well–impulsive dogs are more likely to ignore recall cues, eat dangerous objects, or break a Stay to run into dangerous situations.
Tips on getting your puppy to stop jumping
- Train alternate, incompatible behaviors. Dogs choose to perform behaviors that feel good. If your dog jumps to initiate play, train them to ask by sitting at your feet with a toy. Your dog can’t jump and sit simultaneously. With consistency, your dog will stop jumping and choose to sit for attention more.
- Work on impulse control exercises. Cues such as Drop it, Leave It, and Wait For Food revolve around impulse control. When your dog practices these cues with you, they’re developing and strengthening that ability.
- Reward when your puppy asks for something politely. Don’t forget to reinforce when your dog when they display good manners! One “yes” is worth several “no’s.”
- Reinforce polite greetings. If your dog loves attention from strangers, make sure they practice their manners out in the wild, not just at home.
- Mixed-value treats
- Kibble and food bowl
Why you should train impulse control
Impulse control is the backbone of many, more complicated skills. For example, a dog with high impulse control is better able to ignore distractions and walk on the leash without pulling, leave interesting smells or sights to return when recalled, or relax on a mat with a chew in a busy environment. Dogs who have learned to wait for what they want are generally more relaxed, less frustrated, and calmer. Most importantly, impulse control training teaches your dog to work with you, not against you, to get what they want.
Gentle Beast offers online training courses led by pet behavior expert Alex Sessa, CPDT-KA. Our Impulse Control workshops help you train your dog to stop jumping and reinforce Drop It, Leave It, and Wait For Food.