When your dog has all four paws on the floor, give him attention and praise. If he jumps up at any point, freeze with your arms folded on your chest until he calms down. Instruct guests and all members of your household to consistently ignore jumping. If you have visitors who ignore the no-jumping rules, keep your dog on leash during the visit and gently remove him if he jumps. For anything your dog gets in life, whether it's your attention or a meal, only give the reward when all four paws are on the floor. Jumping up should end all attention and rewards, while remaining fixed on the ground garners all the pleasurable reinforcement a dog desires — treats, petting, play.
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.
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.
To say hello, of course. Puppies are social creatures and happy and excited to greet just about anyone! Jumping, leaping and bouncing are ways your dog shows affection and receives attention. When a puppy is very young, we usually sit on the floor, let them wiggle into our laps and allow them to lick and nuzzle up close to our face. This is OK because we are down at their level.
Determining if this is your dog is a little more complicated, but it is often seen when your dog isn’t very excited (or that there isn’t much of a reason to be excited). This is more than likely to happen when you are in their way or have something that they want. They will usually jump on you and try to push you back more than just jumping up to give you kisses. Often times they will jump on you and try to hold on when you push them away or try to move into them. Sometimes moving into them may elicit a growl because they want to back you off.
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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.
Teach your puppy a conflicting behavior such as “fetch your ball.” She can’t jump up if she’s running to bring you her ball or favorite toy. Just the name of a special game or toy—“go get your bear!”—can change the dog’s focus and redirect the behavior long enough for you to evade the jumping. With enough repetition, your puppy will begin to associate your home-coming with “go fetch” instead of jumping up.
1. Do not let your dog make a big deal out of your arrival home. In fact, as the alpha leader of your family's "pack", you shouldn't even greet him or her for at least 15 minutes. If your dog jumps around and pesters you before that, squirt him with water pistol or shake a can filled with pebbles. This will startle him, and if done on a regular basis, calm him whenever you get home. He won't make such a big deal of your arrival, and thus learn that he can greet you without jumping. Follow the same technique for any visitors to your home. Do not introduce the dog to your visitors until after 15 minutes or longer.
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.
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.
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.