This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
Make sure other family members and visitors understand this command, as well. It is crucial that your dog understand that all family and visitors are above his rank in the pack. Otherwise, he will lash out and try to assert himself on everyone. While using the Off command may not be appreciated by most visitors, but it is more important that a dog has a good greeting manner with all people. A little effort on everyone's side makes your dog disciplined and docile.
Our inconsistency perpetuates the problem. Some of the time we tolerate the jumping and ignore it. Other times we reward the behavior by exchanging enthusiastic greetings. But when we're dressed up and the puppy's paws are muddy, it's a different story. Reprimanding the puppy for jumping up usually does not work. Either the puppy misunderstands the reprimand as praise or he gets even more excited and the jumping gets worse. If the reprimand is severe enough, the puppy may stop jumping at that moment but it doesn't solve the problem altogether; and it certainly is not a very nice thing to do. It's very similar to a person approaching you with a big smile, arm extended to exchange a hand-shake and you bopping the person in the nose. Even if your puppy learns that jumping up on you is not a good idea, he will usually get away with jumping up on everyone else.
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Homecomings and departures are a prime time for jumping up because puppies want to greet you or stop you from leaving. Turning your back on some of these dogs revs them up even more, so instead, try ignoring the bad behavior. “Ignore” means you make no eye contact, say nothing and stand still like a zombie offering no reaction to silly puppy behavior.
4. Use the "Sit" command. This is one of the most basic, and important, commands. As such, if your dog is well trained, he will respond to the Sit command before even thinking to jump. If he does not respond well to the Sit command, then more training is necessary, as this is the foundation for dog obedience training. Train him until he responds to it in everyday situations, such as greeting and going for walks. The better he understands the Sit command, the much less likely he is to ever jump at all.
If a dog is stressed or afraid, their demeanor and typical behaviors will change. If you see this in your dog (or really any dog you know) you should step back and check on your dog. Are they hurt? Did a new dog come around they don’t know? Has the weather changed? Is it hot outside? When was the last time they had a chance to go outside to pee or poop?
To a dog, space and balance are very important. If you take a step backwards or lean out of a jumping dog’s way, it will continue to jump. To a dog, it is overtaking your space, which only pack leaders are allowed to do. When a dog jumps, step into the dog. Picture a sphere around you and are not going to allow anyone or anything to come into your space. When the dog jumps, step into it sideways with your body, shoulder towards the dog. Don't face the dog head-on (you may not have time to turn so don’t worry about it if this is the case). You are not trying to knock the dog down, although this may happen. Don’t be alarmed if you do knock the dog over. Although you don’t want to abuse the dog by knocking it around, this may actually go a long way toward breaking it of the jumping habit as it will create a negative experience. Dogs are incredibly physical creatures and can withstand a lot of physicality without any harm. The odds of inflicting any serious injury are miniscule. You are simply calmly filling up your space with your body, and in return, setting the dog off-balance, which is an uncomfortable feeling for a dog. Lean slightly forward, not backward. Never lean backward, as you will be giving the dog that space. Casually and calmly, keep filling your space, not allowing room for the dog to come in. Remember, your goal is not to knock the dog down, it's just to retain your space.