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.
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.
I remember going to a dog park where a little 4-month-old Boxer puppy ran around jumping on everyone. The dog was not heavy enough to knock most of the adults down. However, it left everyone with muddy pants and the dog was big enough to knock over small children. The owner did nothing to stop the jumping puppy. After all, it was just a small pup. Everyone around her was pretty annoyed at the muddy prints the dog was leaving all over their clothes. That is an owner who will have a problem with her dog jumping on people when it gets older.
When your puppy reaches adolescence, he may be unable to control his impulses and start to test limits (just like a human child). Adolescent jumping up can turn into “nose boinking” which can lead to broken glasses or even a bloody nose. Jumping up often combines with mouthing behavior where the pup bites and grabs your hands, clothing or even your derriere in a grabbing game of tag.
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.
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.
4. Use the "Sit" command. This is one of the most basic, and important, commands. As such, if your dog is well trained, he will respond to the Sit command before even thinking to jump. If he does not respond well to the Sit command, then more training is necessary, as this is the foundation for dog obedience training. Train him until he responds to it in everyday situations, such as greeting and going for walks. The better he understands the Sit command, the much less likely he is to ever jump at all.
Make sure other family members and visitors understand this command, as well. It is crucial that your dog understand that all family and visitors are above his rank in the pack. Otherwise, he will lash out and try to assert himself on everyone. While using the Off command may not be appreciated by most visitors, but it is more important that a dog has a good greeting manner with all people. A little effort on everyone's side makes your dog disciplined and docile.
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.
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.