Puppies are not only adorable, they're also a whole lot of work. Much like a toddler. And because they're so similar, it makes sense that you would spend time showing your child how to be gentle with a puppy, and teaching your puppy not to jump on your toddler. I mean, all that puppy energy has to be redirected somewhere, right?
Just like the many teachable moments in parenting, when it comes to training your puppy, the sooner you begin, the better. An excited puppy jumping on you is still kind of adorable, but a fully grown 100-pound dog, not so much. In regards to jumping, which is a common behavioral problem in dogs, there are several things you can do right off the bat to help curb any tendency your puppy might have towards jumping on a small child, either yours or someone else's. Although your puppy is just trying to say hello and get your attention, his bouncy exuberance could be alarming to a little one.
Teach Your Puppy Commands Early
The main consensus is that you need to provide your dog with an "alternative method of greeting you and others," reported Perfect Paws, a puppy behavior and dog training resource. When they jump, do not pet, talk, cuddle, or reward your puppy for jumping. Instead, teach your puppy their first tricks: "sit" and "stay". This alternative command is the way a puppy should learn to greet everyone, including children. Consistency is key in all aspects of your training, but especially when it comes to jumping.
Deflect & Redirect A Jumping Puppy
"The easiest and most effective way to deter jumping is to turn away from the dog jumping on you," Jennifer Brand, a dog trainer and pet service provider in New York City, tells Romper. "Your entire body language and orientation should face the opposite direction of where the dog is jumping on you. You can even walk away from them, as long as it is the opposite direction of where they are jumping." Brand suggests that if it looks like your pup is only jumping when they meet new people, teach them to sit before greeting. Then, every time they meet a new person, have them sit with a treat and wait a few seconds before saying hello. The same works if you notice that your puppy is only jumping on your toddler if they're rough-housing or running around together outside. You need to catch the behavior and redirect the puppy before the jump.
"If all else fails, keep your dog on leash while working on their jumping in the home," she says. "If they approach a child and are about to jump, redirect them with a treat and have them sit for a few seconds before trying to greet again. By having them on leash, it gives you more control and less freedom for them to run and jump on anyone, including small children."
Teach Toddlers To Ignore A Jumping Puppy
Toddlers can also ignore the puppy by raising their knee and turning their hip toward the dog when they jump, reported Pet Coach, a pet care information website moderated by veterinarians. Added bonus: your toddler will be excited knowing they are able to help train the puppy, too.
There are many advantages to having a family dog, and all the work you put into training in the beginning will pay off as your puppy grows up. Your dog will likely form a wonderful bond with your children, and in turn, pet ownership teaches children about responsibility, provides a sense of security and improves their emotional intelligence. And let's not forget all those puppy snuggles. The cartoonist, Charles Shultz, said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” I couldn't agree more (especially when they're not jumping).
Jennifer Brand, dog trainer and pet service provider in New York City