Did you know that teaching your dog to jump on command helps curb over excited jumping? It may seem counter intuitive but it works. The same principle also works for barking. When a dog learns a particular behaviour on command they learn that particular behaviour is only acceptable on command, thus preventing the unwanted behaviour later.
The Jumping Game
Teaching a dog to jump isn’t a struggle. Especially for a puppy. But being a puppy they can’t jump high, and I wouldn’t ever exert a puppy on this one, but regular and frequent training on this one will bring benefits that will help manage your dog before they get larger and jumping becomes a problem. You should begin basic obedience training (sit and wait etc) from day one, but this is probably not recommended for puppies under 10 weeks old. Short, frequent bursts of training yield better rewards in puppies.
Step 1: Preparation
Get yourself a pile of dog treats (the chewy kind, not the dry kind) a quiet place with no distractions, and your puppy.
Step 2: Begin
As puppies don’t generally understand the point of training it can be a difficult issue just getting your puppy to be attentive to what you are trying to teach them. If you are partial to clicker training, remember to click and reward after each successful action.
First step is to get your puppy in a sitting position and give them a treat, after they get a treat they will begin seeking more.
Hold a treat above their head, but within reach without jumping and let your puppy grab it. Repeat this a few times, then start to raise the height to a point where they would need to stand up slightly to reach the treat. After they are consistently getting the treat, raise it to a point where they need to jump to grab the treat.
When they begin to jump don’t let them nip the treat out of your fingers, but reward them with the treat the moment they touch back down to earth.
Continue at a height where your pup needs to jump, but begin to add the word “jump” when positioning the treat above them. Continue until they are getting it 10 out of 10 times.
To test that the word is associated with the action, hold an open palm above your puppies head and say jump. If they jump, it’s working.
Remember that a dog will associate your hand signals and body language with the action and the word. Be aware of your hand locations and body language you project as these are all conditions the puppy is learning with the action.
Step 3: Reinforcement
Repeat the activity every day for a few weeks. After this point your puppy should be able to reliably jump on command. Continue to reinforce the activity during your regular training, throughout adolescence and adulthood.
This is not an activity just for puppies, all dogs will enjoy this one, and the method is basically the same regardless of age.
Remember to be calm, and patient with your dog when training. Puppies need more patience and tenderness. Never get frustrated or lose your temper when you dog doesn’t get it. Dogs respect calm humans, not frustrated humans!
And most of all have fun, like all dog training it is a great bonding experience and it brings you and your pooch closer together.