There's nothing much cuter than a fuzzy little Saint Bernard puppy jumping up to greet you. He seems harmless at 25 pounds, but this breed grows rapidly and before long, your 200-pound bulldozer is crashing into you and your visitors. Early obedience training stops jumping before it becomes problematic.
Teach your Saint to sit. Unless you have an abnormally talented Saint, he can't sit and jump at the same time. With your puppy on a leash, stand toe-to-toe with your Saint and place a treat directly in front of his nose. Raise the treat slightly over your Saint's nose, over his eyes and over his head. Your dog's nose will follow the treat and once he is looking at the ceiling, say “Sit.” His butt hits the ground so he keeps his balance. The second his butt touches the floor, say “Good sit!” and give the treat. Practice until your dog masters sitting with only the verbal command.
Jump into the air. If your Saint tries jumping on you, quickly back away so your dog jumps into the air. It's rewarding to your dog when his paws land on you and this reinforces the behavior. The more times your Saint's paws successfully land on you, the harder it is to discontinue the jumping behavior. Jumping without his paws landing on you is not as gratifying.
Take a time out when your Saint jumps. If your Saint jumps when you enter the house, immediately walk out and close the door. Wait 30 seconds and re-enter your home. If your Saint jumps, walk out the door again. Continue to take a time out until your Saint keeps all four feet on the ground. Keep treats outside the door so you can immediately reward your Saint for not jumping. Have your Saint sit as you kneel down and calmly pet him. If he tries jumping, walk away.
Throw a "No Jump" party for you Saint. Invite 5 to 10 friends to your home. Line your friends up outside. With your Saint in a sitting position and on a leash, have one friend knock and come inside. If your dog tries to jump, have the friend go back outside. In one minute, have the next friend enter and follow the same steps. Once your Saint stays sitting or at least keeps all four paws on the ground, have the friend give your Saint a treat and pet him for being a good dog. Introduce your Saint to all your friends separately and have them each come inside two to three times. This allows your Saint to practice not jumping 15 to 30 times in one training session.
Ensure your family and friends are strict with the no jumping policy. Make sure everyone in your household knows to walk away and ignore your Saint if he jumps. Consistency is important when training a Saint. If you have visitors outside of training sessions, keep your Saint in a crate or confined to a different room so the jumping behavior is not enforced.
- Reward your dog with treats and petting anytime he is not jumping.
- Do not allow strangers to pet your dog until he is sitting. Hold his leash so he is unable to jump. Tell the person they can only pet your dog if he remains seated, according to the Humane Society.
- Catch his paws mid-jump and have him walk backwards while you talk to him calmly. Dogs do not find this enjoyable and will think twice about jumping up.
- Avoid interactions with children or the elderly until your Saint is not jumping. Jumping on children or the elderly can result in a serious injury.
- Do not say “Down!” or push your Saint since this gives your dog attention for jumping. In a dog's eyes, negative attention is better than no attention.
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.