3. Because they have been rewarded for this behavior in the past, whether purposely or unknowingly. Some owners may, at one point or another, allowed the dog to jump on them or on their furniture, welcoming their dog's enthusiasm to see them. Other owners inadvertently reward their dogs jumping, simply by doing something good--such as walking or feeding the dog--right after the dog has jumped. Even if they told off the dog for jumping, by providing the dog with a walk or with food, they make the dog connect these positive actions, with a not-so-positive action: jumping! The dog sees thing in a very simple, linear fashion: if he jumps, he'll get to go for a walk--or even better, he'll get fed!
Other commands can be substituted for ‘sit’ if you prefer, such as ‘stay’ or ‘down.’ However, if your dog simply gets too excited to execute these commands properly (as is often the case, especially with puppies) try diverting their attention elsewhere. Ask them to go find their ball, or a favorite toy, as a way to distract them and expend some energy. And, as always, reward the good behavior with praise.
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.
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