How to Train a Golden Retriever to Not Jump

Medium
1-2 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

High energy breeds can sometimes have some high energy behaviors. Breeds like shepherds, hounds, and retrievers can perform well in sports and other exercises that require lots of physical activities. But this may also mean that they are not particularly great at controlling that energy in the home or around guests. This high energy can lead to inappropriate behavior, especially in a dog that is overly friendly.

Golden Retrievers can sometimes run into this issue, being the family-loving dogs that they are. While your Retriever might see jumping up on you or a guest to greet them as an appropriate way to show his enthusiasm, you might not be so impressed with his behavior. It can be a little difficult to get a handle on your dog’s energy, but there are certainly ways to handle a peppy pup.

Defining Tasks

Having your dog jump on people can be considered rude or messy, especially if his paws are not particularly clean. He can knock over smaller children by accident, or cause scratches if his claws are a little too long. It’s safer to teach your Golden Retriever how to properly greet someone or show that he’s ready to play in a more productive and safe manner.

Your retriever should begin learning the alternatives to jumping very early on. Forming good habits as a puppy can ensure that he maintains those habits as an adult. The benefit of owning an intelligent and energetic working breed can also be his tendency to learn quickly. A retriever is almost always eager to please his owner and teaching him appropriate behaviors should only take a week or two at most before he is effectively practicing good manners.

Getting Started

The only things you’ll need in order to keep your dog from jumping up are some treats to reward good behavior, a small dog bed that you can keep in the front area of your home, or a baby gate or other barrier to prevent him from approaching guests with too much enthusiasm. These items can be used together, if necessary, or you can pick and choose, depending on which method you prefer. Different methods may work for different dogs, so try things out and see what suits your retriever’s personality and behavior.

The Prevention Method

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Step
1
Get rid of the energy
A high energy working breed will often need a very physical activity to help channel his excess energy. A tired dog is much more likely to be well behaved in front of guests. Try to involve daily exercise in your dog’s routine.
Step
2
Set up barriers
Place a baby gate between your dog and the entrance to your home to prevent jumping on people who enter. You may also consider items like a crate or simply closing the door to his private area.
Step
3
Designate an area
Set up a small dog bed where your retriever can go in order to meet guests. Tell guests to reward him when he is in his bed and he will default to this space when people come over.
Step
4
Encourage relaxation
Offer gentle pets and affection beforehand if you know someone is coming over. Keep your voice low and slow and don’t over excite your dog.
Step
5
Reward for appropriate manners
Always offer rewards like treats or toys when your pup is behaving appropriately. This will make it more likely that he will repeat the more favorable behavior.
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The Correction Method

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Step
1
Offer an alternative
Use a command like ‘sit’ or ‘down’ when you or a guest comes into your home to show your dog that this behavior is what you expect from her at that time.
Step
2
Work on reliability
Work on the command without the pretense of people coming over and then gradually move onto the more exciting or distracting environment with new people or faces. Be sure that your dog can reliably perform the command before introducing distractions.
Step
3
Reward for the alternative
Reward frequently and generously for the right behavior. The more rewards you offer, the more reliable your retriever will become with the command.
Step
4
Be consistent
Don’t begin rewarding and then stop all of a sudden before your dog knows your expectations. Keep your rewards coming every time she performs well and she’ll be much happier to do it instead of jumping.
Step
5
Never reward inappropriate behavior
Even if she performs your command, if she jumps a second afterwards, withhold your reward. The reward should only come when she does not jump up.
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The Ignoring Method

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Step
1
Turn away
As soon as your dog jumps, turn your body away from him. Do not reach out and pet or touch him in any way.
Step
2
Avoid verbal acknowledgement
Even a sharp ‘no!’ or another verbal correction can be seen as getting attention. Your dog may not understand that the behavior is unacceptable. Avoid responding to him at all.
Step
3
Avoid eye contact
Turn your head away to keep from looking down at your retriever when he jumps up. You should be ignoring him entirely.
Step
4
Stop interaction and play
Any play time or excitement should come to a stop. Your dog will gradually begin to connect jumping up with a sudden and not-so-fun stop to play time.
Step
5
Continue interaction when appropriate
Only when he is down and behaving appropriately should you begin interacting and playing with your retriever again. Play time is the reward while not jumping is the behavior. Be consistent with your methods and he will soon get the message.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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