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.
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.
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.
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.
For pups that ambush you and bite your rear end while playing outside, hide a toy or two in the backyard and ask them to find the toy. Bad weather can give puppies cabin fever when they don’t have adequate time outside to run off the energy. Mental stimulation can wear them out, too. Show your puppy a favorite toy and then roll it up inside an old towel and knot it to make a puzzle. Encourage the pup to unravel and get the toy. You can even tie the first toy-in-the-towel inside a second one for more of a challenge to relieve boredom.
When a dog jumps on a human of its own free will, it is not "greeting" the human, it is asserting its dominance over the human; it is the dog communicating that it is alpha and/or wishes to own/control the human. A subordinate would never dream of running over and jumping on the alpha dog of the pack. Space is respect and lower members of the pack respect the higher members. If your dog jumps on humans, it does not respect them. Note: when a young puppy jumps on humans it is sometimes its attempt to reach one's face. Puppies need to be taught not to jump up on humans as this behavior will manifest into other meanings as the puppy grows up into an adult dog.