A common complaint among dog owners is they cannot curb their dog jumping on people. Dogs that jump on people are not just a nuisance but can be dangerous. Jumping can result in people getting scratched, bruised or if children and frail adults get knocked down, possible serious injury.
Jumping is a self-rewarding behavior for dogs. As puppies they are so cute we often fail to be consistent in discouraging the behavior. As adults it ceases to be charming. Some dogs are just so full of energy it is difficult for them to have self control when greeting people. Making sure your dog gets adequate exercise every day is the first step in curbing jumping. There is a reason people say “a tired dog is a good dog”.
There are two components to correcting jumping, management and training. Always manage the situation. When people come to visit put your dog in a crate, in another room or behind a baby gate. After everyone is settled and the dog has calmed down, put him on a leash and allow him to say hello.
When on a walk with your dog and you meet another person, restrain your dog from jumping on the person. It doesn’t matter if the other person says they don’t mind, you must be consistent. To discourage your dog from jumping on you turn away from him and ignore him until he has all four feet on the ground.
Training is the second component of correcting jumping. Whether you realize it or not you are training your dog all the time. They learn which behavior gets them what they want and which behaviors don’t. You have to be consistent. You can’t allow your dog to jump on you sometimes and not others. For some dogs getting yelled at in an attempt to correct bad behavior equals attention. Pushing the dog down can result in the dog turning it into a game and escalating in excitement.
Only reward your dog when he has all 4 feet on the floor, being calm, or sitting. Teach an incompatible behavior with jumping such as sit-stay or go find toy. Require the dog to perform the incompatible behavior before he has the chance to jump. Eventually, you can designate a spot and have your dog go sit there when guest arrive. Once everyone is settled allow your dog to come and say hello. Don’t rush this, if your dog is not steady on the sit-stay use one of the management maneuvers discussed above.
Be consistent. Every behavior has a consequence. Rewarding only non jumping activities such as being calm or sitting will increase the likelihood your dog will not jump.