How to Stop Your Jack Russell From Jumping Up

By Tom McSherry

Jumping up is one of the most common complaints Jack Russell owners have about their pets. Because Jack Russells are small, energetic and have strong legs, they are prone to jumping all over people. Despite their small size, JRTs are solid little dogs and they can pack a lot of force into a jump. This can also be a problem if your dog likes to get his paws dirty and go jumping all over your guest. So in this article, I’m going to explain some tips and strategies to stop a Jack Russell from jumping up.

Preventing Jumping Up

Now, let’s quickly mention the matter of prevention. In Jack Russell training, it’s always better to prevent a problem from developing or getting worse than to try to fix it once it gets out of control. Bad habits in a dog can be hard to change. So, if the problem is just developing, nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.

Lower Your Body

The first tip is to come down to your dog’s level when you greet him. Kneel down when you meet your dog after coming home. This prevents any need for the dog to jump up to get close to you.

The Off Command

However, you might find that even when you kneel down, the dog will still insist on putting his paws all over you, even if he isn’t jumping. In this case you can teach the Off command.

Teaching the Off command is simple. Here’s how you do it:
1. Kneel down to meet the dog.
2. Have a tasty treat ready to reward the dog.
3. When he paws at you, say the word “Off” in a clear, authoritative tone.
4. When his paws naturally touch the ground, reward him with the treat and praise him with words.

At first, the dog won’t understand the connection between the word and the action of getting off you. But as you repeat this exercise over and over, the dog will figure out that every time he stops jumping up, he gets a food reward.

Attention Seeking

Never offer your Jack Russell attention when he jumps up on you. Attention simply reinforces the behavior and tells him it’s something he should do more often – that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. So, in order to make him jump up less, it makes sense that we should ignore the behavior as much as possible. Take away the reward (your attention) and the dog will see less benefit in jumping up. This is a simple way of using the dog’s natural desires and instincts to create the behavior you want.

Always try to figure out what the dog wants when you’re trying to change a problem behavior. Jack Russells don’t respond well to being forced to change – they are strong-willed and independent, so strong-arm tactics will usually create more resistance. It’s much easier to find out what the dog wants and use his own desires as a motivator for good behavior.

Tom McSherry is the author of “The Jack Russell Lover’s Ultimate Guide To Training,” a complete Jack Russell training manual written in a simple, easy-to-understand style for the average Jack Russell owner. Learn more about Jack Russell Terrier training at Tom’s JRT community website,, where you can share pictures and stories about your pet with other Jack Russell owners.

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Mar 05, 2010 | 0 | Dog breed information, Training

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