Four on the Floor – Layer 4


Frequently Asked Questions:

1.      What do I do if my puppy jumps up:

  • Don’t give your puppy the opportunity to practice the behaviour (control the environment)

2.      What do I do if my puppy jumps at people on walks even if they are just walking past us?

  • Catch your puppy before they jump up – as the person is approaching, get your puppy’s attention and reinforce with treats on the ground.  Do this every single time a person walks by.

3.      What if my dog runs up to someone in a park

  • Why are they off-leash and given the opportunity to practice the behaviour?
  • You can use a long line (a 15’ leash) to allow freedom of movement but still give you the opportunity to train what you want.

4.      What if my puppy jumps up on someone despite my best management?

  • If a situation occurs and your puppy jumps, interrupt the behaviour by moving your puppy off the person they are jumping on (no need to say anything)
  • Resume reinforcing for what you want…four on the floor.

5.      What to do when people come over to visit?

  • Put your dog on leash so you can practice reinforcing the behaviour that you want.
  • When people come over, stuff a Kong to give your dog a job while your guests are settling in.


Puppies grow into behaviours they keep practicing.  They don’t grow out of behaviours.  Behaviours that are reinforced (or rewarded) are strengthened.

Dogs and puppies jump up because the behaviour has been reinforced.  Reinforcement can be saying no, telling them to get off, touching them, giving a lecture.  Don’t make excuses for your dog; teach them what to do instead!

Tightening or shortening the leash when you pass or meet people does not teach the puppy to keep to four on the floor; often it only encourages pulling.  Try to keep the leash loose and use food to reinforce four on the floor.

It is human nature to want to touch and interact with a puppy but it isn’t necessarily appropriate for a stranger, or even friend or acquaintance, to touch or pet your puppy without asking first. A person should have the grace to step away from your puppy if the touch is not welcomed.

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