The point of distraction

I’m going to answer a Frequently Barked Question today.

FBQ: How do I stop my Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, from jumping up?

It’s a fairly common cause of concern amongst people who live with dogs. We dogs tend to be more enthusiastic with our greetings than bipeds are. You only have to watch young dogs at the park greeting each other to realise that dogs don’t mean to be rude when they jump up. Of course, if your dog is as large as I am then convincing the dog that it isn’t very polite can be quite urgent!

My bipeds have used the command ‘sit’ to stop me from doing all sorts of things. They always say that there isn’t much mischief a dog can get into while sitting nicely! They taught me it’s a nice way to greet visitors.

Large dog jumping up

Too enthusiastic?

Attribution: By Rytis Mikelskas (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The first thing to do is to convince your dog that a ‘sit’ always brings good things. Little and often is the way to do this. Ask for a ‘sit’ at odd times and give a treat – this can be something tasty, or it can be praise or perhaps a game. You can also ask your dog to ‘sit’ before you give him his food. When ‘sit’ gets a quick reaction, encourage your dog to stay in that position for a little longer before he is rewarded. Then try asking for a ‘sit’ when there is some sort of distraction, but keep the sit brief at first so that the dog is successful.

When you have a fairly reliable sit, you can move onto the next stage with some help from family members and friends. Ask someone to go out and come back in, but ask the dog to sit before the person comes in. At this stage it’s helpful to stay by your dog’s side so that you can encourage him to remain sitting and reward him for doing so. The person who came in should make a fuss of him if he is sitting.

If you keep doing this it won’t take long for your dog to know that sitting to greet people brings rewards and it will become the natural behaviour. I always use a ‘sit’ when I want to ask for something, as I know how much my bipeds like and reward a ‘sit’.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it is also Hannukah, so I’d like to wish everyone who is celebrating a lovely time!

See you next Wednesday!

100 thoughts on “The point of distraction

  1. Great advice. Even small dogs can be annoying when they jump too much: Daisy goes crazy when people come in, but she takes full advantage when the playing field is a bit more level – once people are sitting on the couch, then she gets up on the couch with them and jumps up into their faces. NOT a welcome greeting!

    • Thank you! I don’t have to jump up once they sit down! I can put my face right in theirs then, but people don’t generally appreciate it. My bipeds had a cat that used to do what Daisy does and some people found it intimidating!

  2. Dude. I always sit when someone comes in… Or goes out, or leaves town, or drops dead,….

  3. Clowie, our Great Pyr. Use to jump when she was a puppy, Lexie was a jumper and Mica always expected you to come down to her level. Mica is just not a jumper we always used the command off it worked if they jumped on the car, or person, or bike greeting inside or out they immediately just stood and wagged their tail. Of course now that they are tall enough to reach everyone’s hand they don’t jump at all. Have a great week 🙂

  4. Good advice here. Lila needs to practice her sit a bit. Better get some delicious treats ready.

  5. A vital ability for a dog your size Clowie 😉 Well done for passing on the tips.

  6. Cascadian Nomads

    Great advice, Clowie. And once a jumping habit has started (as with our youngest two) it is very hard to break. Someday I hope to be able to get all three dogs to “sit” in a high distraction situation. We won’t stop working on it!

    • Thank you. It must be at least three times as hard to keep three dogs sitting – there’s always distraction there. I’m always impressed at how you have the three pose together for photographs.

  7. I’m guilty of jumping, but I get soooo excited when people visit. Mummy says she’s going to be firmer with me about it from now on:-(

  8. Oh I try to sit but I get over excite sometimes..BOL.. Practice makes Pawfect Clowie. Catch ya next week 🙂 xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

    • Hi Mollie, it is difficult to sit still when you’re very excited, but it’s worth it because visitors like it and give you more attention! Have a fun week!

  9. Mom makes me sit a lot. And you’re right, C – there are usually treats involved. When someone comes to the door I have to wait in my chair. It’s far away from the door. Mom is afraid I’ll make a run for it, so I wait there till the door is safely closed. After that, all bets are off. We’re still working on that….

    Love and licks,

  10. Guilty as charged over here and now my peeps is studying your tips ….drats. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  11. Clowie so important..that is a whole lot of pup to be jumped on by 🙂 so well done to sit stay 🙂 hugs Fozziemum and lovely wishes for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah xxx

  12. Clowie you’re so smart…..and I should think learning NOT to jump is very important for a big beautiful doggy like your breed because you could quite easily knock a tiny human right down on their bum!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  13. Katie jumped up on people until she was almost four! Mainly she would jump on specific friends or ours, but occasionally she would jump on a stranger, it was pretty bad, but finally she gave that up.

  14. Doggy didn’t use to jump, but since Miss Peach is living with us he’s acquiring behaviors that I don’t like. He spends more time with Miss Peach now and she let him do whatever he wants.

  15. Clowie some good advice this Wednesday. CH’s brother has a couple of jumping up on the human legs dogs and it doesn’t feel too good. But we know they get excited and happy when someone comes to their house. Telling them to sit so we could pet them would be very nice. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Bipeds.. 🙂

  16. Knowing these tips can be a matter of life and death with such big dogs, lol.

  17. Great advice! And really interesting for us too

    Happy Wednesday

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil

  18. Great post, Clowie! I wish all who have this problem with jumping up will try it your way. I’ve heard some people suggest to step on the hind legs of the dog or to kick him with the knee. That’s so awful and evil. I bet with your advice it will work much better. Have a wonderful thanksgiving and a giant turkey!

    • Thank you, Easy! I’ve seen that sort of advice for forceful methods that could cause serious injury to the dog.
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Clowie, What a wonderful lesson in biped management. I always knew dogs were a lot smarter than they lel on, but this lesson in biped management is a great show stopper. And getting treat after treat is such a great reward. Thank you, and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving as well, — Bill

  20. Excellent advice, Clowie, especially when big dogs like us can knock someone over. And, we’re wishing you and your bipeds very Happy Holidays. So glad you’re our cyber buddy. wag wag, Max & Bella

    • Thank you, we do have to be careful – bipeds are so unstable because they walk about on two legs!
      I hope you have a lovely day tomorrow and enjoy the weekend.

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