Dogs with poor social skills oftentimes just don’t know better. They will bounce off of everything, jump on everyone, run around like crazy, and investigate everything they can get their paws, snout, and eyes on! These dogs can come from any background, whether a rescue or puppy from a great breeder; if they haven’t had experience in new places and new situations, this can be how they respond.
Liz London is a certified dog trainer through the Certifying Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) & the Karen Pryor Academy (Dog Trainer Foundations Certification) with regular continuing education courses from the top animal trainers from all over the world. She has trained zoo animals, search & rescue canines, gundogs, and helped people raise happy, healthy, and well-behaved canine companions for over ten years.
If you have ever seen two dogs when they meet, they greet each other face to face, unless there is a massive size disparity. So, why are we surprised when that is how a dog wants to greet us? You come home from work and let your dog out, and they are excited to see you and excited to show you how much they have missed you. So they jump up on you to get closer and give you some love.
1. To assert dominance. Whether it's jumping on people or jumping on furniture, both instances illustrate a dog that wants to raise his station in life. By jumping on you or jumping on the couch, he's saying that he's the pack leader--something that you DON'T want to happen, as a dominant dog is much more difficult to train (and can become quite aggressive). In either case, you'll definitely want to institute the proper alpha dog training techniques, if you haven't already.
In order to perfect the proper greeting routine, your dog needs much more practice than that. You can speed up the training process by leaving through the back door and returning through the front door over and over again. When your friends come over, have them do the same. Each time, ask your dog to sit-stay before opening the door. At first his excitement will make it difficult for him to concentrate but after you've repeated this process 10 times, he will calm down and be able to concentrate. Before asking your dog to sit-stay in this distracting and exciting situation, be sure he has a reliable sit-stay in normal, non-stressful situations. And of course you can always just hold the dog in a sit if need be.
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?
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.
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.