How to Use the “Off” Cue Correctly

Most people don’t like to have a dog jumping all over them. If your dog is already a pro at staying off people then continue reinforcing this positive behavior by petting it when all four paws are on the floor. If your dog needs help with this you can try using the following methods to get the behavior you are seeking. Remember, ‘off’ means don’t jump and ‘down’ is the cue word for lie down, they are not the same cue.

Method 1: Never give your dog something it likes when it is jumping up on you or someone else. This is not just limited to treats but includes petting, attention, playing with or without toys, and whatever else your dog may find pleasurable. For some, this is a very hard habit to break. Make sure your friends and family are on the same page about not jumping as you are. Even if they say it’s okay, politely insist your dog not jump.

Method 2: A preventative way to stop jumping is to ask the dog to ‘sit’, this replaces the jumping behavior with a more productive one. Pet the dog while it is sitting politely, not while it’s jumping on you. Turning your back to a dog who is jumping on you sends a clear message you will not pet them for jumping. If that does not work, walk away from the dog and actively ignore the dog for any jumping attempts.

Method 3: Some dogs may need a little more help learning not to jump. If you are sitting down and your dog jumps on your lap simply stand up and say ‘off’. You may also need to put your dog on a leash and step on the leash so your dog can not jump up. If your dog jumps on you while you are standing you can walk toward the dog to put it off balance but NEVER step on its toes, kick it, knee it, or push it off with your hands. You may also need to put your dog on a leash and step on the leash so your dog can not jump up.