Jack Russell Terriers are agile and intelligent. If they can figure out a way to get something they want, they will. This means learning very quickly that jumping on people gets them things – attention, being held, a piece of food, a toy, etc. This habit is usually taught when they are tiny puppies, and we don’t think much of it- but then they get bigger and it becomes a nuisance. If your JRT is a jumper, don’t worry. You can stop the behavior with a bit of training and patience. The following is how to teach your Jack Russell Terrier to stop jumping on people.
Why Your Jack Russell Terrier Jumps On People
Dogs are opportunistic creatures. This means if they can do something to get what they want, they will. As mentioned above, jumping up usually starts when your Jack Russell Terrier was a puppy and he put his cute little paws on you to get your attention. Understandably, you couldn’t resist. But your puppy just learned that putting his two front paws on you gets him what he wants and he will do it more in the future. Unless your Jack Russell is jumping on people out of fear or aggression (in which case you should seek a professional dog trainer for help), he is doing it because it gets him what he wants – attention, a toy, food, etc. The good news is that this makes it easy to stop the behavior. All you have to do is make sure your Jack Russell is not being rewarded for it. Then, give him another behavior to do instead that is rewarded. Problem solved.
3 Steps To Getting Your Jack Russell Terrier To Not Jump On People
#1 – Stop Rewarding The Jumping
Every time your Jack Russell Terrier jumps on someone that person needs to ignore her completely. The best thing to do is turn around and walk away. Even if they shout “down,” “no,” and/or push her away – negative attention is still attention. The trick is that every single person, 100 percent of the time, needs to do this. One person saying “oh I don’t mind” and then giving your Jack Russell what she wants will make the behavior stronger, so insist upon your rules.
#2 – Ask For A Conflicting Behavior
Most people ask for a sit. Your Jack Russell can’t sit and jump up at the same time. There are two ways to do this: wait for your dog to offer a sit, or give the cue Sit and then reward her when she responds. The reward should be whatever your Jack Russell Terrier was jumping on you for in the first place – petting, a toy, a treat, even his food dish! Anything your Jack Russell normally jumps up on you for, she now only gets if she is sitting. If your JRT is very young or really overzealous, you may need to start by rewarding a calm “four on the floor” first, then work towards a sit as your Jack Russell learns self-control. You will need to wait until she is standing quietly and then reward. This takes some training and patience, but it will work because- as mentioned above- dogs repeat behaviors that get them what they want.
#3 – Management
This is the last piece of the puzzle, and it’s what you have to do while your Jack Russell Terrier is learning to sit for things- which won’t happen overnight. You can help your Jack Russell by holding them lightly when greeting new people, as long as they are comfortable with it and the attention they are receiving. Having your JRT drag a leash from his harness can also help with jumping for a couple of reasons. It’s useful when you meet that pesky person who allows (or worse, encourages!) your JRT to jump on them – or maybe you are in a situation that is just too exciting for him at this point in his training to remember his manners. You can just step on the leash so he can’t physically practice the behavior; or you can lead him away from the person altogether, let him calm down, and bring him back to try the greeting when he is more settled.