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.
Paying attention to a dog only when all four paws are on the floor can work well, if jumping isn’t well entrenched and if everybody who deals with the dog follows the rules. Unfortunately, much of humanity will get busy undermining you. “I don’t mind your puppy jumping up,” they say, while you tear your hair out. Or they get all disciplinarian, maybe kneeing the dog in the chest. That is not only mean but counterproductive, because dogs often respond by trying to appease. Since humans are usually taller than dogs, reaching our muzzles to lick them involves jumping up.
An L-footer is a great way to stop your dog from jumping over the fence if used a little differently. You’ll want to turn it upside down and use it at the top of the fence. Create the L-shape and securely fasten the short side to the top of the fence and have the rest of the hardware angled towards the yard so that when your pooch looks up they will see fencing.
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.
However, when we are standing or sitting in a chair and they come bounding over to greet us, jumping up on us and trying to reach our face, we must not bend over and exchange hugs and kisses. If we do we are training and rewarding the puppy for jumping up. Eventually, most of us decide we no longer like our puppy jumping up to say hello - usually when the puppy gets bigger and more rambunctious. What used to be cute is now obnoxious and even dangerous if the puppy is jumping up on children or the elderly.
Nobody likes to have a handful of groceries knocked out of their hand or get muddy paw prints on their new pants as they walk through their own front door, let alone someone else's front door. Jumping up can be a cute greeting when you have a small puppy or dog at home, but as time goes on, it can become quite annoying to you and your guests. Teaching your dog to calmly greet you and your guests, without jumping, will create a much more enjoyable environment to enter into after a long day at work or when receiving guests at home.
Why do dogs jump up? A plausible explanation arises from their ways of communicating with each other. A puppy greeting an adult dog often licks the adult’s muzzle -- a polite, deferential behavior. Dogs, of course, descend from wolves, among whom muzzle-licking is how pups get the grownups to regurgitate food for them. Domestic dogs rarely nourish puppies this way, but muzzle-licking has survived, maybe because deferential behaviors are handy for a social animal. Think of humans saying “No, after you.” Muzzle-licking is also an appeasement behavior -- something you trot out to de-escalate a fight. A human might lift up his hands, palms toward the person he’s arguing with.