Jump to section
You open your door after a long day at work and your hands are full, mail under one arm, laptop bag on your shoulder, keys still out from unlocking the door. Suddenly, two massive Labrador paws are on your chest and everything goes flying. Your dog is so excited to see you, he just can’t contain himself, and now you’re stuck picking up the pieces. This situation can be avoided when your Lab is still a puppy.
Training your Labrador puppy to not jump up on you when she is young and small is very important. When your puppy is young, jumping is adorable and feels like her way of expressing her love for you. But as she grows, her love can easily knock you, or a visitor, to the ground. Labs are friendly, sociable dogs and can take a long time to mature and calm down. They are more prone to jumping up than other dog breeds. However, with some consistent training while she is young, you can convince your puppy not to jump in a few weeks. Taking the time to properly train your Labrador puppy to keep her feet on the floor is a great way to raise a well-mannered dog.
You will need some good treats or another type of rewards close at hand for training your puppy not to jump. The goal with all of these methods is to reward the behavior you want, rather than scolding your puppy for doing something wrong. You will also need to resist the urge to give her love and pets when she jumps up on you, no matter how cute it is. You want to teach her that jumping doesn’t get her what she wants. The only reward should come when all four feet are on the ground.
The Door Method
Set the scene
Practice this method when you have a lot of time, rather than feeling rushed. Choose a door in your house, such as the front door or a door to a room, and gather some rewards, such as treats or a favorite toy.
Make her wait
Put the door between you and your puppy. With most Labs, as soon as you’re out of sight, they start to miss you. Give your puppy a few seconds, or minutes, to miss you before opening the door.
Use the door as a tool
If your puppy jumps on you, immediately go back through the door and close it. After a few seconds, try again. It may take a few tries before your puppy realizes that you will not come all the way in if she is jumping on you.
Reward the behavior you want to encourage
When you open the door and find her sitting or standing nicely, come in and give her a treat and some gentle, well-deserved praise.
Practice makes perfect
Continue practicing and ask your guests to do the same. You want to be consistent with your puppy so she understands that jumping does not give her the rewards she wants.
The Sitting Method
Build on your puppy's previous skills
If your Labrador puppy already knows the 'sit' command, you can use this knowledge to form good manners in your pup. She already knows that sitting on command gets her good stuff, like treats and praise, and so she is more likely to give up jumping to follow your directions.
Give the 'sit' command
When you come in the door and your puppy starts to jump on you, tell her “sit.” In the beginning, the urge to jump may be too strong, but after a few seconds, her desire to please you should override the urge to jump.
Reward good behavior
Wait until all four of her feet and her backside are on the floor at the same time. Then give her a treat and some gentle, calm praise.
Clarify the command
At first, your puppy will jump and then calm down once you say "sit". While this is a good start, it hasn’t stopped her from jumping. As she starts to consistently follow your directions, start issuing the command earlier when she moves towards you to jump and only rewarding her if her paws never touch you.
Keep your puppy calm around visitors
Over time, your puppy will stop jumping on you, but she may still be over-excited when new people come into the house. You can fix this behavior by telling your puppy to sit before opening the door and then having your guests give her a treat if she holds the 'sit'. Remember, she only gets treats if her paws never touch you or your guest.
The Turn Away Method
Get in the right mindset
In this method, turning away from your puppy when she jumps up on you removes the attention she is used to receiving from her actions. Gather some good treats or choose a favorite toy as a reward and get ready to be patient.
Keep your hands to yourself
When your puppy jumps on you, turn away from her and bring your arms up to your chest. You should also avoid any eye contact with her, shutting out all attention.
Wait for your puppy to calm down
Your Labrador puppy may keep jumping on you. Keep in mind that this method has worked for her in the past so it may take her a little while to realize that jumping is not getting her what she wants. Do not engage with her until she calms down.
All four feet on the floor please!
Once all four of her feet are on the ground, whether she is sitting or standing, you can reward her with a tasty treat or her toy. With consistent practice, she will understand that keeping her feet on the ground is the best way to get the attention she desires.
Enlist some back-up
Training your puppy not to jump on you does not always eliminate the problem. This method only really works if it is consistently enforced. Enlist the help of friends and family when they come to visit. Have them follow the same steps until your puppy understands the jumping never works.
By Christina Gunning
Published: 02/26/2018, edited: 01/08/2021