While the idea of "training" may seem daunting, it is simply teaching an animal what behavior works or doesn't work through resulting consequences — so whether you realize it or not, you are actually training your dog every moment of the day. Fortunately for you, preventing jumping is possible even without structured training. There are some simple solutions to this problem that require minimal effort and fit easily into your normal interactions with your dog.
Before you answer the door and welcome guests, clip a leash on your canine, preferably to a front-clip harness or head halter, so that he can be controlled in a manner such that he cannot greet if he jumps. When your dog is calm, with all four paws on the floor — which may take up to a few minutes for more excitable dogs — allow him to approach guests and say hello. If he jumps, gently turn and lead him away; wait for calm behavior before approaching again. For particularly excitable dogs, another option is to remove the dog to a contained area before guests come in. An exercise pen or baby gate is adequate containment for many dogs. If you have an athletic or large dog that can easily scale a gate, use a crate or move him to a room with a closed door. Once your dog calms down, clip on his leash and allow him to come out and greet your guests.
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.
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.
This week’s episode is on how to teach your dog to stop jumping up and instead greet people politely. Jack writes that he and his wife have taught their young dog that he gets attention only when all four paws are on the floor. But the dog jumps up on guests. His exuberant greetings are hard on children and old people. Today I’ll explain how to teach your dog that the best way to get people to say hi is just to sit there and not jump up.