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How To Teach Your Bull Terrier To Stop Jumping on People

While short in stature, Bull Terriers have a solid body and it’s no joke when one of these joyful bullies decides to leap on you. This is a taught behavior, usually reinforced unknowingly by owners or strangers when your dog is a puppy. By the time he is a full grown adult, you have a problem on your hands. Luckily, since this is learned behavior, your dog can unlearn it – it just takes time and patience. The following is how to teach your Bull Terrier to stop jumping on people.

Image Source: Robert Tadlock Via Flickr

Why Your Bull 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 Bull Terrier is 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. So unless your Bull Terrier 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 Bull Terrier is not being rewarded for it. Then, give him another behavior to do instead that is rewarded. Problem solved.

3 Steps To Getting Your Bull Terrier To Not Jump On People

Image Source: Robert Tadlock Via Flickr

#1 – Stop Rewarding The Jumping

Every time your Bull 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 Bull Terrier 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 Bull Terrier 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 Bull Terrier was jumping on you for in the first place – petting, a toy, a treat, even his food dish! Anything your Bull Terrier normally jumps up on you for, she now only gets if she is sitting. If your Bull Terrier 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 Bull Terrier learns self-control. You will 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 Bull Terrier is learning to sit for things- which won’t happen overnight. You can help your Bull Terrier by holding them lightly when greeting new people, as long as they are comfortable with it and the attention they are receiving. Having your Bull Terrier 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 Bull Terrier 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.

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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