A German Shepherd that jumps up on people is not only unpleasant, it can cause injury. While it’s nice your Shepherd is friendly and wants to greet people, he needs to learn to do so appropriately, and that means no jumping. Once you understand why your Shepherd does this behavior, the way to fix it becomes clear. Then, all you have to do is follow the steps (which do take some time and patience!) to get your German Shepherd to stop jumping on people.
Why Your German Shepherd Jumps On People
Dogs are opportunistic creatures. This means if they can do something to get what they want, they will. And then that behavior will be reinforced and they will be more likely to do it again. So unless your GSD 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 Shepherd is not being rewarded for it and give him another behavior to do instead that is rewarded.
3 Steps To Getting Your German Shepherd Stop Jumping On People
#1 – Stop Rewarding The Jumping
Every time your German Shepherd jumps on someone, that person needs to not give him attention! The best thing to do is turn around and walk away. Even if you shout “down,” “no,” and/or push him 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!” will make the behavior stronger. So insist upon your rules.
#2 – Ask For A Conflicting Behavior
Most people ask for a “sit.” Your German Shepherd can’t sit and jump up at the same time. Then reward him for sitting by giving him the attention he was looking for. This can be petting, a toy, a treat, even his food dish! Anything your Shepherd normally jumps up on you for, he now only gets if he is sitting. This takes some training and patience, but it will work because, as mentioned above, dogs repeat behaviors that get them what they want.
This is the last piece of the puzzle and it’s what you have to do while your German Shepherd is learning to sit for things, which won’t happen overnight. Since you can’t control everyone that meets your dog, some may pet him as he jumps up anyway. Or, your dog may end up in a situation that is just too exciting for him to remember his newly learned skills. In these cases, you need to manage the behavior. Keep your Shepherd on leash so you can walk him away, step on the leash to prevent him from jumping, or put him in a different room to calm down and try again in a bit.