Our Cavapoo jumps up at people all the time! It is one of the hardest habits for us to break and is not helped by strangers, visitors and even our own children, who either actively encourage it or merely reply “it’s ok really, we don’t mind”…grrr!
It is important that we stop our Cavapoos from jumping up at people through consistent training. This involves managing their behavior both in and out of the home and by adding in mutually exclusive commands for your dog to follow instead of jumping up.
Cavapoos are incredibly active dogs, who love to run and leap (especially at people). And whilst this may be instinctive behavior for your dog, it should be deterred. Here we provide some tips and tricks for keeping your Cavapoo on all four paws.
Why do dogs jump up?
Jumping up is normal, reinforced behavior for a puppy. From birth they instinctively jump up to the face of their mother to gain attention from the rest of the litter. They tend to target their focus on their mums face, before frantically licking the corners of her mouth in order to stimulate her to regurgitate food.
As your dog gets older, it is a natural progression for your puppy to jump at you in order to get noticed.
The issues start as your dog gets bigger. Afterall not everyone appreciates dirty paws over their clean clothes or scratches down their bare legs. Some people may even be scared of your dog – no matter how cute your Cavapoo may be.
Therefore we need to ensure that we do not give our dogs the desired attention they crave when they leap at us, so that we are no longer reinforcing this jumping up behaviour.
How to train your dog not to jump
In order to break a bad habit, such as jumping up, we need to add in a new one. By doing this we can manage the environment so that our Cavapoos get rewarded heavily for the new alternative to jumping at us.
This is known as mutually exclusive behavior. By getting your Cavapoo to concentrate on one thing, prevents them from doing another.
One of the best examples of this is to get your dog to sit for a treat the minute they look like they are going to jump at you. This does take a lot of time, patience and reinforcement but it is really important that you not punish your puppy or dog for jumping up.
Telling your Cavapoo off does not teach them what to do, it just panics them and often makes them leap even more.
Mutually Exclusive Behaviors
First of all, you need to decide what your alternative to jumping up is going to be. A lot of people like to ask their dog to sit, whereas we have been trying a ‘paws down’ approach. We prefer this as it means that our Cavapoo Rosie can still wiggle her bottom in delight as much as she likes, as long as all four paws remain on the ground.
You then need to start training your dog that when they run towards you and the command is given, that they will be rewarded with a treat – providing they carry it out.
Even if they only manage a matter of seconds to begin with, make sure they are rewarded as they have still achieved what you have asked them to do. Progress may be slow, but it shouldn’t be rushed.
Another important point is to keep your hands low to the ground and maintain eye contact with your Cavapoo at all times.
What to do when your Cavapoo jumps at you
Good control is hard to master, so if your dog continues to jump at you, despite practicing other commands, don’t stress.
Instead, simply stand still and ignore your dog. We often turn our back on Rosie too, just to reinforce to her that jumping up will not be rewarded with either attention or treats.
Often or not, after a few seconds, your dog will remember what they are meant to be doing and the mutually exclusive behaviour begins.
If this doesn’t happen and the excitement has gotten the better of your puppy, then tomorrow is another day. Just put their lead on and calmly take them away for a few minutes to chill out.
How to stop a dog from jumping at strangers in your home
It’s one thing to have your dog jumping at you, but the last thing you want is for them to go bounding over to visitors or strangers.
The best way to prevent this, whilst in the home, is to shut your dog safely away so they can not see who is arriving. Leave your dog with a toy or treat to focus on and once the dust has settled and the excitement of their arrival has past, you can introduce your dog to your visitor.
HOWEVER, you should make sure that this is done in a controlled way, with your dog on a lead.
We also check if our guests are ok with dogs before doing introductions. A lot of our children’s friends are scared and therefore it is best to keep them both separate. Afterall a kid flailing their arms around in distress will be portrayed in the eyes of your Cavapoo, as the most exciting game of chase ever.
How to stop a dog from jumping at strangers outside
The problem with training your dog not to jump at people outside the home is inconsistency.
If your dog is anything like ours, her cute little face will allow her to get rewarded by many strangers she leaps at. Therefore, jumping on random walkers becomes a lottery for your dog and you may even find that they jump even higher, harder, or even bark in order to get the praise they desire!
The only way to combat this is to ensure that they always on a lead around people until they have mastered keeping four paws on the ground when they are in the home with you.
In the early days we found a training lead such as this on Amazon – good as Rosie could run large distances outdoors but could still be stopped in her tracks if danger or a stranger presented themselves.
Once you are confident that you can reinforce a mutually exclusive behavior to jumping, such as sit, wherever you may be, then is the time to test it outdoors.
I would say that we only have around 50% success when it comes to stopping Rosie from jumping up at strangers. Quite often she will bound straight past people but if they even glance in her direction then she can’t resist a quick hello. When this happens, we tend to reinforce our command and put her back on the lead.
No one is perfect and sometimes the excitement of a situation can often run away with our dogs. Therefore instead of punishing them for jumping up, your Cavapoo is much more likely to learn when given a command to follow and a reward when they get it right.