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.
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.
A conflicting behavior when you come home—like “sit”—helps enormously. You’ll need to practice your puppy’s “sit” during calm moments first, and then ask for this polite behavior before you leave and when you arrive home. Guests will appreciate a polite “sit” when they arrive, too, as they won’t appreciate your puppy leaping around and mugging them for attention.
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.
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.
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!
Start by teaching your puppy the word NO. Use that word only when she is doing something you do not like. You have to use the word NO in a loud, stern voice that is different from all other ways you communicate with her, so that she knows there is something wrong. You also have to catch her in the act that you don't like, so that it will associate the word NO with the action that she is doing. Be consistent, and follow your verbal command with a light smack or moving her to a time out spot.
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.
Dogs like and need consistency, so if you are not allowing your dog to jump on you, everyone in the family and everyone who greets the dog must do the same. You, as an owner, must make sure this happens. It will only confuse a dog if you allow them to jump on some people who say they do not mind, and tell him not to jump on others. Once you decide you do not wish your dog to jump on people you must apply this to everyone at all times unless you give the dog a command to jump. A dog should never jump on a human of its own free will.