How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump on Other Dogs

How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump on Other Dogs
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-2 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Attention on Leash Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Reward Based Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Leash Restraint Aversion Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Written by Kimberly Maciejewski

Veterinary reviewed by:

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

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Chewy

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Labrador Retriever

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One Year

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Question

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We got chewy 4 weeks ago from a family who didn't have the time for him. He's very good at commands and learns quick. He loves treats so we have been doing training on the lead with a halti collar which is working well. The issue is his recall was none existent so we have done alot of training with him on a longer lead and a whistle and treats and he now comes straight back. But when we pass another dog he pulls jumps and just doesn't listen,his tail is wagging so he loves other dogs but he doesn't seem to know how to behave around them. We can't let him off either because of this.

Sept. 11, 2023

Chewy's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article I have linked below, and if you know for sure he is friendly, see if you can recruit a friend with a dog that you know he gets along with well, to practice the Premack Principle around. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ For the pulling on leash, also check out the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 6, 2023

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Penny

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Labrador Retriever

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18 months

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Penny gets on well with other dogs and is not aggressive but sometimes will jump on their heads, to get them to play with her and some dogs are not keen for her to do that, she is just very excited to see the other dog who may be a friend. How can I stop her doing this please

July 31, 2023

Penny's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

In this situation you will need to intervene and call pup off the other dog using obedience you have taught. I recommend teaching an Out command and Come command. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Come: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Once pup has learned those commands, practice them often using a long training leash, 15'-30' long and a padded back clip harness. Gradually work up to more and more distracting locations. You can even practice pup's recall at places where the are other dogs that can't get to your dog, like regular parks or outside a dog park (don't go inside the dog park area though since having pup on leash in there isn't safe and could lead to fights). Once pup is really good at Come and Out on the long leash, recruit a friend and their friendly dog. Have the dogs play in a controlled, fenced area without other dogs around, while they are wearing a back clip harness and drag leash. Periodically call the dogs away from each other when they are not entangled wrestling. Have each other call their dog from different areas of the yard so the dogs go in different directions when they disengage. Use the drag leash to carefully and quickly reel pups in to each of you if they don't obey when you call. Once your dog gets to you (because they obeyed or because you reeled them in with the leash), have pup obey a couple commands like Sit or Down, and give high value treats - this is why the dogs are being called to separate locations, you don't want competing for the same food while aroused from playing). After both dogs are focused on their people and calm from the obedience practice, allow the more timid of the two dogs to go first, telling them "Go Play" and releasing them. If they still want to play, let the second dog go also, telling them to "Go Play" as well. Practice this for 10-30 minutes a training session, often, until your dog will obey Out and Come consistently while in the middle of playing without having to be reeled in. While doing all of this, I would avoid going to the dog park where pup could ignore your command and that would undermined your training efforts. Once pup is very good at obeying while aroused, then you can use the new commands in real life to help pup manage their behavior at the park. Learn how to read the body language of other dogs if you do not already, so you can easily spot when the dogs are getting too aroused or one dog wants to stop and isn't being allowed to, and you can intervene before things get tense, moving your dog to another part of the park and letting them calm back down again, before playing with a new dog while that one rests. Be aware that some dogs need the play to end for the day when they get to that point because their ability to control themselves will decrease the more tired they get, even though they seem to be getting wound up instead of tired. For those dogs, it's best to end the play for that part of the day, and if you find they still need exercise, use some structured obedience practice to wear them out mentally too, which can also get their minds back into a calm state before going home. Do obedience practice outside of the dog park fence though, for safety reasons. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 3, 2023


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