So you’ve come home after a long day of work only to have your German Shepherd jump on you in excitement. Or maybe you have guests over and your dog jumps on them when they first arrive. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
Jumping is a common issue that many German Shepherd owners face. The good news is that with proper training and patience, you can curb this behavior. This guide will provide you with tips, tricks, and steps for stopping your German Shepherd from jumping on people.
Here’s a quick answer: The best way to stop a German Shepherd from jumping is to completely ignore the behavior. Don’t give them any attention when they jump. Only reward with calm pets and praise when all four paws are on the floor. Teaching them to “sit” or “down” when people enter also helps reinforce keeping paws grounded. With consistency, they’ll break the jumping habit.
Why Do German Shepherds Jump?
Before diving into training methods, it’s important to understand why your dog jumps in the first place.
Jumping is a completely natural dog behavior. When your German Shepherd jumps on you or guests, they are not trying to be dominant or assert their rank. Instead, they are just excited to see you and don’t know a better way to express their enthusiasm.
Common reasons dogs jump include:
- Greeting their owner when they come home
- Welcoming guests into the home
- When they want attention
- When they are feeling playful
So in short, your dog isn’t jumping to be defiant. They just want to say hello and show you how happy they are to see you!
Is Jumping Bad Behavior?
While jumping seems innocent enough, this behavior should still be corrected for a few key reasons:
- Safety: Large dogs can knock people over and cause injury, especially to small children and elderly individuals.
- Cleanliness: Jumping dogs get muddy paws on clothing.
- Professionalism: Jumping is not a polite way to greet guests. You want your dog to make a good first impression.
So while jumping isn’t a sign of aggression in German Shepherds, it still isn’t ideal behavior. With the right training tactics, you can teach your dog to greet calmly instead.
Training Tips to Stop Jumping
Stopping a German Shepherd from jumping takes time and patience. But with consistency and positive reinforcement, you can curb this behavior. Here are some of the top training tips and tricks:
Ignore the Behavior
This is one of the most fundamental training tactics. When your German Shepherd jumps, completely ignore them. No speaking, no touching, no eye contact. Stand still like a tree with your arms folded.
This sends the message that jumping earns zero rewards. Once they stop jumping, you can then acknowledge them calmly and reward with pets or treats. But those rewards should only come when all four paws are on the ground.
Getting everyone in the home to follow this tactic is crucial. If one person gives attention for jumping, the training will be undermined.
Teach An Alternate Behavior
Simply ignoring jumping teaches your dog what not to do. You also need to teach them what to do instead.
Train your German Shepherd to “sit” or “down” when people arrive. You can practice this using treats and praise.
When someone first enters, tell your dog to sit or lay down. Reward them heavily for complying. With enough repetition, they will start offering the behavior automatically when guests arrive.
You want your dog focused on a command rather than jumping. Asking for a “sit” helps reinforce that they should stay grounded when excited.
Use a House Line
Attach a lightweight leash to your German Shepherd’s collar and keep them on it whenever guests come over.
Keep the leash short enough so they can’t jump, but loose enough that they aren’t choked. Use it to gently guide them into a sit when visitors arrive. Reward for sitting politely.
The leash allows you to physically manage and reinforce the right behavior when your dog is too excited to listen. Eventually they will learn to stay seated on their own.
Practice “Off” Training
The verbal command “Off” teaches your dog that putting paws on people is unacceptable.
With your dog on leash, have a helper approach and ignore any jumping. Calmly say “Off” and guide the dog back into a sit using the leash. Reward once seated politely.
Practice this when your dog tries to jump on furniture too. Say “Off” and gently lead them to the floor. Reward four paws on the ground.
With enough repetition, they will learn that “Off” means all paws belong on the floor, not people.
Use Pet Gates
When you first arrive home, your German Shepherd likely gets extremely excited. Place a pet gate in the entryway of your home.
When you first walk in, close the gate between you and your dog. Wait until your dog sits calmly before entering and greeting them.
This allows you to completely ignore jumping since they can’t access you. Only reward and pet them once seated politely behind the barrier.
Exercise Before Guests Arrive
A tired dog is less likely to jump. Make sure your German Shepherd gets adequate exercise before company comes over.
Take them for a long walk, play a vigorous game of fetch in the yard, or do a training session. Getting their energy out ahead of time will help them stay grounded.
Lastly, avoid punishing or yelling at your German Shepherd when they jump. This can make anxiety and excitement worse. It can also damage your bond with your dog.
Stick to positive reinforcement training methods and simply ignore unwanted behaviors. Harsh punishments will undermine your progress.
When Will Your German Shepherd Stop Jumping?
German Shepherds are intelligent dogs, but breaking old habits still takes patience and consistency on your part.
With the training tips outlined above, most German Shepherds will stop jumping within 2-3 months. However, every dog is different.
Make sure every human member of your household is on board with training. Consistency is key. Stick with it and your German Shepherd will curb this behavior.
What If Your German Shepherd Won’t Stop Jumping?
While most dogs respond well to the above training tactics, some may have a harder time curbing the jumping habit. Here are some troubleshooting tips:
- Reinforce training daily. Don’t let days slip without practice. Consistency is crucial.
- Rule out medical causes. Pain or thyroid disorders can cause hyperactivity. See your vet.
- Consider professional help. A certified dog trainer can help identify issues.
- Manage their excitement. No guests or keep dog crated when company is over.
- Use anti-jump harnesses. These restrict jumping motion.
- Block access. Use pet gates and keep dog leashed and under control.
If you’ve tried everything and your German Shepherd still excessively jumps, consult your veterinarian and a professional dog trainer. They can help assess if there’s an underlying cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
To wrap up, here are some common questions dog owners have about curbing German Shepherd jumping:
How long does it take to fully train a German Shepherd not to jump?
With daily consistency, most German Shepherds can be fully trained not to jump within 2-3 months. However, it depends on the individual dog and how ingrained the behavior is.
What is the best way to stop German Shepherd jumping?
Ignoring the behavior and rewarding four paws on the floor is most effective. Teaching and reinforcing an alternate like “sit” also helps. Using leashes/gates for control can aid the process.
Why does my German Shepherd jump on some people but not others?
Dogs jump more on “pushy” people who look them in the eye and bend over them. They are less likely to jump on those who ignore them and don’t make direct contact upon entering.
Is jumping a sign of aggression in German Shepherds?
No, jumping is just a sign of excitement and a desire to greet. It’s not related to aggression or dominance in German Shepherds.
At what age can you start training a German Shepherd puppy not to jump?
Training should begin early. Start discouraging jumping as soon as you bring your German Shepherd puppy home. Consistency from a young age makes it easier.
Jumping is a common issue German Shepherd owners encounter, but it can be corrected through training and management. Key takeaways include:
- Ignore jumping and reward calm behavior
- Teach and reinforce an alternate like “sit”
- Use leashes, gates, and crates to manage excitement
- Exercise your dog before potentially exciting situations
- Avoid punishment and stick to positive methods
With several months of daily consistency and positive reinforcement, you can curb your German Shepherd’s jumping habit for good. This will help keep your dog, family, and guests safe and happy.