Dogs say hello to each other by licking their muzzles and sniffing each other’s faces. We are much taller than dogs, even when they stand on their hind legs. That’s why they jump up on us to be able to reach our faces and get our attention.
Unfortunately, even though it’s well-intentioned, no one likes it when a dog jumps up on people. Even if it’s just their own way of acknowledging your presence or telling you they miss you, it’s still a habit you need to break, especially when there are always newcomers and guests in your house. Thankfully, as dogs are intelligent creatures, they can be trained to learn new tricks and behaviors.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that dogs engage in this behavior because they want to get your attention and get you to pet them. Knowing this, you can show your dog other ways to greet you and other people…politely.
When it comes to properly training your dog to stop jumping on people, there are only two principles you need to keep in mind. First, keep your attention and your hands away from your dog unless its front feet are on the floor. Secondly, you should immediately give your dog attention and petting the instant its front feet land on the floor. Remember these principles very well, as they will come a long way in eradicating the bad habit for good.
If you are looking for training exercises to stop your dog from jumping on people, start by ignoring and petting on cue. How do you do this? When you enter a door and your dog jumps up on you, ignore him completely. Don’t shout at your dog or grab him or tell him to pull away. Just stand up straight, look over its head and pull your hands and arms up to your chest. By being completely still, you teach your dog to be calm, instead of encouraging him to jump. Only when its front paws are on the floor should you calmly pet him. If it gets excited and jumps again, pull your hand away and stand up straight once again.
You can also teach your dog to sit before entering the room. If you’re entering a room and your dog starts to jump up, immediately step back outside and close the door behind you. Make sure not to fully close the door so your dog can hear you as you command it to “sit.” Once your dog sits, you should calmly walk back in the room and start stroking him. If it starts jumping again, just stand up and walk right back out of the room again. This time, closing the door behind you fully. Just keep repeating this sequence until your dog stops jumping up.
If these still do not work, you can always use a water spray bottle. Before you dismiss this as a cruel and inhumane technique, there’s a right way to do it that does not involve hurting your dog or punishing him for bad behavior. When the dog approaches you to jump, say “no jump” as you aim to spray twice between the dog’s eyes. Again, you should spray BETWEEN the dog’s eyes and NOT directly on its eyes.
A lot of dog trainers swear by this method, as it is very effective and you only need to do it at least three or four rounds to teach your dog that jumping is not allowed. Just make sure not to spray vigorously in your dog’s eyes, as this is physical abuse and dogs do not respond well to violence.
Because teaching your dog not to jump can be quite challenging, you should be consistent about your training exercises. Treating your dog as a family member requires gentleness and respect, instead of strictness and punishment. Especially when you’re just starting out, avoid using a loud voice. Your tone of voice when issuing an obedience command such as “sit” or “no jump” should be calm and authoritative, rather than harsh or loud.
Also, when you are teaching your dog not to jump, it can get difficult at times. That’s because they’re so used to doing it with other members of their pack, and it’s just naturally part of canine behavior! But if you want to guarantee results, you should start incorporating rewards and treats in your methods.
There is a right way of positively reinforcing your dog, though. You should not give treats so carelessly, as this will only confuse your dog as to what it is doing that is making him earn the reward. What you should do instead is to only give a reward after its front feet land on the floor!
Lastly, be consistent. Don’t expect your dog to stop jumping on you right at the get go. It’s unfair to your dog and will give you unnecessary frustrations. Instead, when training your dog to stop jumping on you, do it every single time you enter the front door. By doing it consistently and not setting unreasonable expectations, it will eventually turn into a behavior for him not to jump on you and on other people.
Even if it is taking your fur baby a hard time to stop getting so jumpy and excited every time it sees you, never punish your dog if it still jumps up on you from time to time. It’s normal, and all you can really to do to fully eradicate the habit is be patient and consistent. That being said, you shouldn’t be completely lax too. It takes the perfect balance to be able to discipline and instill good behaviors that will stick for good.
Once your dog has learned to greet you politely, it’s time to engage other friends you know to help you teach your dog to greet visitors politely, as well. Get them to execute the same training sequence you’ve been doing, in order to reinforce the behavior on your dog positively. As always, you need to reward the good behavior with a treat or positive words of encouragement.