How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump on Other Dogs

Medium
1-2 Weeks
General

Introduction

One of the best parts of owning a dog is the ability to engage in fun and interactive outdoors activities. Walks, runs and excursions to outside markets or fairs are all much more fun with your trusty canine companion by your side. When your dog lunges, pulls and jumps when approaching other dogs, however, this enjoyable activity can quickly turn into an anxious, stressful and hectic chore.

Dogs that jump on other dogs don’t necessarily mean any harm. Dogs consider play and touch one of their primary ways of communication. Younger dogs will often jump on other dogs out of exuberance or excitement over meeting a potential new “friend.” But this behavior can lead to unintentional aggression when the other dog isn’t used to forward behavior, isn’t friendly, or otherwise feels threatened. One of the easiest ways to prevent any incidents and protect your ability to enjoy outside time with your pooch is to train him or her not to jump on other dogs.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog not to jump on other dogs is more than just a single command or behavior. Unlike simple tasks such as 'sit', 'down', or 'stay', training your dog not to jump will involve several different behaviors, stringed together in a technique called shaping. For the novice dog trainer, never fear. This task is much simpler than it sounds and there are several ways to go about training your dog not to jump on other dogs.

Getting Started

Before you get started you will need several easy-to-find items in order to set you and your pooch up for success. First, you will want to acquire a sturdy leash and collar for your dog. We prefer a flat collar with a buckle for this task, but a martingale style collar or harness will also work. Your leash should be of medium length, though you may want to acquire a longer leash as your dog progresses in their training and graduates to additional space to roam free while you’re outside.

A treat pouch that can be hooked to your pocket or belt and a selection of tasty treats will also come in handy. Finally, a friend or neighbor’s well-behaved and trained older dog will provide a great training tool to build up to interacting with strange dogs on the trail and may also provide a calming presence and a source of leadership for teaching good dog manners.

The Attention on Leash Method

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Step
1
Start small
Start out with your dog on leash in the back yard. You’ll want to begin here instead of a public sidewalk, path or trail so that you can avoid distractions during the initial training period and set your dog up for success.
Step
2
Walk with attention
Walk with your dog around the yard, on leash. From time to time, say your dog’s name or tug the leash gently, just enough to get your dog’s attention. When your dog looks at you, treat and praise.
Step
3
Add command
Repeat the process of walking and treating until your dog reliably is looking at you during your walk. Once this happens, begin adding in the command “look” or “look at me” which will be your verbal cue for the behavior.
Step
4
Add a distraction
Once your dog is checking in with you reliably on command, introduce a friendly neighborhood dog at a great distance. Every time your dog wants to pull towards the dog, give them the “look” command and treat. If your dog is too distracted, increase the distance or go back to no distractions.
Step
5
Practice
Repeat until your dog is reliably ignoring the other dog and focusing on you. Slowly decrease the distance over multiple sessions, and move the training to a public location, building up to strange dogs and distractions until your dog is ignoring everyone and, instead, focusing on you for their treat.
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The Reward Based Method

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Step
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Set up
This approach is best for dogs that are dog friendly and are excited about seeing other dogs. It is based around the concept that being allowed to approach another canine is something they enjoy and they’ll only be rewarded with it when on their best behavior. Start out on leash in your backyard with a neighbor’s friendly and calm dog.
Step
2
Approach
Have both dogs begin to approach each other on leash. The moment your dog begins to pull, lunge or jump towards the other dog you should immediately stop and the well-behaved dog should turn around and walk further away. Your dog has a strong pulling reflex so its important that you not tug your dog. Instead, be a tree and remain perfectly still until your dog calms down.
Step
3
Repeat
Once your dog is perfectly calm, allow the neighbor dog and your pooch to begin approaching each other again. Pause again the moment your dog pulls, with the neighbor dog turning and walking away.
Step
4
Practice
Repeat the above steps until your dog understands that pulling, jumping and being excitable will not get them what they want; namely being able to play or interact with the other dog. This may take some time so have patience and go slowly, not being afraid to increase your distance.
Step
5
Take it on the road
Once your dog has mastered approaching a known dog in the back yard, repeat this process in public places and with new dogs. Try sitting near a dog path at a distance, then slowly closer, moving forward only if your dog is calm and collected. Eventually your pooch will learn that only when they behave, without jumping, will they be allowed to say hello to other dogs.
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The Leash Restraint Aversion Method

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Step
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Set up
This method is another version of the rewards based approach, but suitable for dogs that are more excitable, have higher energy or may not enjoy the company of other dogs. Start off in your back yard or in a familiar area such as a frequent walking path where your dog has minimal distractions. With your hand firmly holding the leash, place your foot on the leash on the ground so that your dog has room to move but not to jump or lunge.
Step
2
Approach and treat
Wait for another dog to approach. When they begin to get closer, but before your dog starts jumping, start treating and praising your dog.
Step
3
Restrain
The moment your dog starts jumping, immediately stop treating and stand still with your foot on the leash. Your dog will not be able to jump and you should remain still and ignore their “bad” behavior.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat this, moving slightly further away from the path if need be, until your dog begins to stop jumping reliably as another dog walks by. If a dog walks by successfully without your dog jumping at all, provide higher value treats and lots of praise.
Step
5
Practice
Practice this approach, moving closer to the path and other dogs as your dog learns that allowing a dog to go by without jumping will earn your pooch lots of tasty rewards. Before you know it, you and Fido will be enjoying calm walks without excess drama, stress, anxiety or jumping.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Kimberly Maciejewski

Published: 01/19/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Winston
Mutt
4 Months
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Winston
Mutt
4 Months

Hi! I adopted a 4 month old hound mix. He is very high energy and loves playing fetch but for some reason he hates walk, especially in the mornings. I get up with him relatively early to walk him before I have to start working and he lays on the ground the second we leave the backyard. He doesn't mind the harness or the leash because he will happily run around the backyard and play fetch with both on but he just seems to hate walking on the sidewalks, especially if it is only me and him. He seems to do better walking if he has more than one person there. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Taylor, Pay attention to pup's body language and the environment. Some pups don't want to walk because they are afraid of a neighborhood dog in a fence barking, construction workers, funny objects (like holiday/yard decorations), and things we would never think twice about. If pup isn't familiar with something (no matter how normal it may seem to us) it can feel scary to pup and be a reason why they don't want to leave the safety of the yard. If pup seems nervous or something might be bothering them in the environment, work on helping pup overcome that fear first by using play and treats to distract pup and then reward pup for any confidence, calmness, or tolerance they shows around the fearful thing. Practice this further away from the scary thing first and very gradually work up to pup being able to pass that thing as his confidence grows with your help. Simply spending time sitting outside with pup daily in the environment pup is uncertain of - without expecting walking yet - can help the area become less scary or distracting. Next, spend time getting pup used to leash pressure in general if pup's not familiar with coming forward toward you when there is a leash tug. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Next, if pup still won't walk, take some small treats or pup's dog food pieces in a small ziplock bag in your pocket or a favorite toy. Every time pup takes a couple of steps, give a treat or toss the toy a step forward or let pup give the toy a tug. Keep your energy excited and confident. When pup stops, tell pup "Let's Go" in a calm and business-like tone of voice (it's not a question, it's a confident, calm command), then tug and release the leash several times in a row until pup takes a couple more steps - at which point give another treat or play. The leash tugs should stop as soon as pup starts moving. Keep your walking goals short at first. If pup won't leave your yard - your first goal is just to leave the yard. When pup reaches that goal - go home as an additional reward for pup following you - even if a lot of leash tugs were involved. When pup will go to the end of the yard easily then walk to the next house. Gradually increase your walk distance overtime. If you make your goal something huge like the whole neighborhood at first you are less likely to succeed - work up to distance overtime. Also, do not continuously pull pup on the leash. Doing so can harm pup's neck, but also dog's have a natural tendency to pull away from something - so if you pull pup in one direction, he will just pull back in the other direction, budging even less. This is why you do the quick tug and releases so that not following is uncomfortable with the tugs but not a continuous pull. You want pup to choose to walk to get away from the annoying tugs and to receive treats. I suspect pup is nervous or distracted about the environment - so don't skip over desensitizing pup to the environment if pup seems at all nervous about those things - freezing and looking like a deer in headlights is one sign of nervousness. Finally, make sure pup isn't in pain or sick, causing him not to want to exercise in any form due to feeling bad. If you have reason to suspect pup is ill or injured, definitely see your vet. (I am not a vet) Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
Golden Retriever
8 Months
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Question
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Bella
Golden Retriever
8 Months

We walk our puppy Bella twice a day. She has very high energy and needs lots of exercise. When she sees other dogs or people (especially children) on our walks, she jumps at them which is becoming an issue. Apart from this she is very well trained, but we don’t know how to stop this from happening. Thank you.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Saranne, Check out the Step Toward and Leash method from the article linked below. When encountering strangers on walks I would use the Leash method especially, so that pup can't jump on kiddos to begin with. If pup is very friendly with the kids you can bring treats along with you and give the kids a treat to give to pup once pup is sitting for them (with you stepping on the leash looped from your hand to underneath your foot to pup, so that pup will be corrected and not able to jump if pup tries to jump while the kids are close. Jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump You can also work on Heeling, Sit/Down/Stand, Watch Me, and Stay commands periodically throughout the walk to help wear pup out mentally and keep their energy calmer throughout the walk. Having pup work through obedience commands during the walk helps put pup in a different mindset than pup walking and constantly taking in new sights and sounds and getting progressively more excited about that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Nabi
spitz
2 Years
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Nabi
spitz
2 Years

We just adopted this little girl Nabi that was rescued from a meat farm. We introduced Nabi and our existing dog Shadow. He is 11 years old and we have had him since he was a puppy. Immediately at a big yard near the shelter, they met and Nabi started to crowd Shadow, stand with her chest to his body, shove her head under this butt, and would jump and put her front paws on his back. This results in growling and nipping from Shadow, and when you try to pull Nabi away, she ends up growling at you. Otherwise, she is a very sweet and trusting girl. We are currently fostering her to see how it will work out, but we don’t know why she could be doing this or how to stop it. Our existing dog Shadow doesn’t mind her presence and when she’s not jumping on him or getting up in his grill, they can coexist. But when she starts invading his space, it gets aggressive. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lauren, It sounds like Nabi is trying to dominate Shadow. Nabi's behavior is actually very intimidating and dominating which is why Shadow is reacting to it aggressively. When Nabi is interrupted they are redirecting their dog aggression toward you instead - which is common with dog aggression. I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues to help you with this in person. I would begin by gently building pup's respect for you so that they can learn to respect your other dog as an extension of their respect for you and the rules you create. You would then need to teach new household rules for both dogs - like no bothering another dog when they want to be left alone, no stealing another dog's toy, no hovering around when one is eating, no getting between a person and another dog, no aggression, no pushy behavior, ect...When one dog breaks a rule, you would be the one to enforce the rule by making the offender do something like leave the room. Pup's respect needs to be build for you first though so pup isn't just aggressive toward you or ignoring your commands when you give direction. I would also work on rewarding the dogs (without the other dog seeing, to avoid food fights) for tolerance and calmness around each other. As well as teach both dogs a 1 hour place command so they can have some calm time apart inside as well. Structured heeling walks are a good way to help with bonding too. I recommend having two people walk with the dogs, so there is a little space between them. Require both dogs to walk at heel (spend time teaching that first if needed) so that they are having to walk slightly behind you, and not just pulling and competing with each other to be in front. The calm, structure of the walk is important, not only the movement. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Nala
Yorkie
12 Weeks
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Nala
Yorkie
12 Weeks

Nala wants to jump up on Toby while she is walking with him rather than walking with him. This makes it hard to train Toby to not be jealous of nala also

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Ruby
Boxer
2 Years
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Question
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Ruby
Boxer
2 Years

When I walk ruby and she sees another dog she gets very excited and wants to go and play. Sometimes before she gets to the dog she will lie down and watch the dog. After a few seconds she would pounce near the dog. She would then start going up to the dog and start sniffing. Once the other dog has noticed her being there she will sometimes jump on top of the dog pinning her down, however I don’t think it’s ever in aggression as she’s never hurt or bitten a dog from doing so. It is also done on dogs that’s she doesn’t know as I can take her on walks with friends dogs and she won’t jump on them!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hannah, It sounds like she is likely wanting to play, but other dogs may take this as rude and it could lead to a fight with a dog who is less tolerant. I suggest joining a group that has structured activities with other dogs to desensitize her to them, such as a local dog walking group where they work on heel, or on-leash hiking group, intermediate obedience class, canine good citizen class, or calm canine sport. You want to facilitate calm interactions, not rough housing. I also suggest going places like parks and practicing a structured heel with lots of turns with other dogs in the background. Reward her for staying focused on you and ignore the other dogs - you want them to become boring and neutral. Practice the Passing Approach and Walking Together methods with friends with well mannered dogs if you have enough friends with such dogs you can do so with, and there be new dogs she is exposed to regularly. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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