Jumping/Clawing on people--when and how to discourage it?

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.


Pretty please,- with a cherry on- top?
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 8:00am PST 
Hi, I have a 3-month-old Mini Bull Terrier pup who constantly jumps up on people's legs for attention. She is very tiny right now, only about 6 pounds, and I understand that jumping up is a perfectly normal way for a puppy to ask for (a mommy's) attention.

What I would like to know is when I should start discouraging this behavior. I know that ideally I can teach her to sit and wait for people to lean over and give her pets and lovings. As I said though, she is small--she can't even manage stairs right now--so I'm wondering if it is too early? We also hold her a lot, so I wonder if she's jumping up to ask for that as well.

Any thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks!

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 2:53pm PST 
Bully breeds just love their people, don't they? smile

3 months old is definitely not too young for her to start learning that to get attention/pets, she must sit. Absolutely no attention or pets, or even eye contact while she jumps/claws/barks/whines/whatever, and as soon as she stops, reward immensely with tons of praise. She will learn quickly with lots of consistency (including strangers and friends) and patience.

Teaching the dog that "sit" is a good default position to get what she wants is also useful. Positively reinforce when she chooses to sit, and she will sit more often. When ignoring her clawing/jumping, she may stop, and offer a sit instead. Heavily reward/reinforce this, and she will start offering a sit in order to earn attention and praise.

Good luck!

Edited by author Tue Nov 27, '12 2:54pm PST


We don't doodle!
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 4:32pm PST 
I have a four month old lab puppy in a house FULL of toy breeds. I also own and operate a boarding kennel, daycare, grooming facility and the pup goes to work with me each day.
ALL my employees are experienced dog people and within one week of my getting him at 8 weeks of age, this lab learned that he would get totally ignored if he jumped or clawed at anyone, but, if he sat, he got loved on AND even got treats!
It was really quick with him BECAUSE everyone here knows to NEVER reward jumping/clawing and to only reward sitting, but, none the less, this guy is absolutely wonderful to live with now! He even sits for attention from the toy breeds and lies down so they can play with him!!!
You CAN do this as well. As Farley pointed out, NEVER pick her up when she is jumping or clawing at you, either wait for that sit and heavily reward it, OR turn your back and ignore her. It works MUCH faster than pushing down, hitting, etc., and the pup is much happier! Good luck!!!


Pretty please,- with a cherry on- top?
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 8:00am PST 
Oh! Got it. I just feel bad sometimes when she claws because she seems like a little toddler wanting to be up in Mommy's arms. cry

She is very smart and tends to catch on quick to these "little" behaviors. Almost as soon as I taught her "sit", she started doing it all the time, LOL. Like, "Yeah, doing this gets me treats every time! I better be ready!" And often I'll be doing something in the kitchen and look up to make sure she's not getting into any trouble--and she'd be right at my ankle, sitting quietly and calmly, looking up at me. WAITING.

It's so hard, though, getting others to follow suit with what I'm doing to train her. My mom is in the habit of saying "down" to reprimand Cherry and I have to keep reminding her that "down" is a behavior, like "sit". She and my dad will also knee her aside or give her a nudge with their foot to discourage the jumping. frown But isn't a physical response like that just encouragement?

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 10:36am PST 
Negative attention is still attention wink no nudging with the foot, pushing her off, or any other kind of attention! And yes, many pups will view that as play, and so it only reinforces the jumping and clawing.

That's great that she has "sit" down already! You should be able to get her to sit to earn pets and affection, easily.

I wouldn't use "down" as a punishment, but I suppose it could be used as a redirector ("don't jump on us, lay down instead"), but that's basically what you're doing with sit anyway. Just let her figure it out on her own that she must offer sits in order to earn attention, and she can sit to earn other things, too.

Just tell strangers/friends she is in training and it would be very helpful if they ignored the puppy until she sits calmly. Then they can shower her with attention smile

I just need a- lttle direction,- please?
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 1:34pm PST 
I agree with totally ignoring the bad behavior....to the point of turning and walking away.
It may take time, but eventually the pup will get tired and sit or lie down. Then help on the love and praise...until puppy is jumping again of course.
It takes tons of repeating, but they get it.

Ask Mom and Dad to ignore and walk away. No words, don't look, no pushing puppy off.