Foster Dogs

manage the environment to prevent the behavior


Managing the dog’s environment to prevent the problem behavior is important for the safety of everyone who interacts with the dog. Preventing jumpy/mouthy behavior also means the behavior won't be accidentally reinforced and become more frequent. Without management, jumpy/mouthy behavior can become much worse.


Jumpy/mouthy behavior can be frustrating and scary. Try to stay calm and practice the management described below.

For best results, everyone who interacts with a jumpy/mouthy dog should consistently follow the management rules. This includes family members and visitors.

People coming and going can be hugely exciting for dogs, and can trigger jumping and mouthing. Management is especially important when kids or less mobile individuals are involved.


  • Increase exercise & enrichment, especially time with people. 

  • Keep the dog on leash, tethered, or behind a barrier like a sturdy baby gate to prevent jumping at common problem times, such as when visitors arrive. See below for examples. 

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  • If possible, when you return home after an absence, let the dog outside immediately (into a securely fenced area) for a game of fetch or other activity that will let him burn some energy, before trying to pet him.


  • When working with dog in an enclosed area, leave the leash on the dog (dragging);​

  • Stay calm. Avoid fast movements like running, jumping, etc. if these trigger the problem behavior;

  • Pre-empt jumping by luring/cuing another behavior like a sit, or throwing a toy. Do this before the dog even thinks about jumping;

  • If the dog jumps, don’t push or talk to him. Quietly step away, then give attention when he is not jumping;

  • For dogs who bite hard enough to hurt or break skin, use a muzzle during training or when other management measures are not possible.


If the dog begins grabbing clothing or your body roughly enough to cause injury, the following measures can get you out of trouble (see video below): 


  • Put space between you and the dog.​

    • Get something between you and the dog, like a dog bed or a chair.​

    • ​If the dog is leashed, loop the leash around something sturdy (banister, heavy furniture, a tree or pole) and keep tension on your end of the leash to hold the dog away from you.

    • ​Toss high-value food away from you (ideally into another room or a crate), then leave the area.

  • Move the dog to a safe, enclosed space if he's not already in one.​​

    • If you are safely separated from the dog, give him a few moments to calm down. ​

    • Use high value treats to lure the dog to the location you want him to go.  Start feeding continuously BEFORE trying to move him, and continue to feed continuously until he is secured in a crate or another room​​​.​​

    • Call for help if you feel it's needed.



  • ​Use food to lure the dog’s head into a slip lead or harness

  • Use a food scatter or stuffed food toy to occupy the dog while harnessing (See Protocol for Harnessing) 


  • Feed continuously in a low position (by hand or toss treats on the ground) if the dog becomes jumpy on leash walks  

  • For some dogs, holding a toy in their mouth prevents jumpy/mouthy behavior

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