Most people assume that it’s fairly normal for a dog to jump up and greet them when they come into a home. It can appear to symbolize friendliness and welcome, but the truth is that it can actually be the dog’s attempt at establishing their leadership role and it can quickly become very annoying, for both you and for your guests. Jumping up is not actually entirely normal or acceptable canine behavior, and it can actually become a difficult habit to break if a dog is not corrected early and completely enough. If your dog grows into a large, heavy dog, their habit of jumping up can actually cause injury to others, but even small dogs should be taught not to jump up as a simple matter of proper manners.
Tips to Stop Jumping Up
Most dogs are jumping up in order to satisfy their strong sense of smell by coming into closer contact with the strongest sources of scent in a human being. Some of the strongest scents we produce come from our mouths, and dogs like to get close to our face in order to explore these scents. However, while this may seem like a fairly normal action, it is their hyper excitability about doing this that we most want to curb.
Dogs work very well in groups – called packs – and will gladly follow a strong, assertive and calm pack leader. In your household, that should always be you. This means that in all your interactions with your dog, especially during training sessions, you need to remain calm and assertive with them. This is no less true when you are trying to teach your dog to stop jumping up. With a calm, focused attitude, you can have great success in teaching your dog to stay down no matter how excited he becomes.
Following are some key tips for training your dog to stop jumping up on a guest:
Do not immediately give your dog attention and affection when you walk through the door. Dogs will respond to immediate attention and affection by becoming excited, which in turn often means that they will lose their ability to control their body.
Refrain from eye contact, physical contact or vocal acknowledgement if your dog is participating in unwanted behavior. This is true when you enter your home, but also any time you are interacting with your dog. If you dog begins whining or barking at you for attention, jumping up on you or any other similar undesirable behavior, the best thing you can do is refrain from anything that may be viewed as an acknowledgement of this behavior.
Move your dog away from you when he displays undesirable behavior. A puppy’s mother does not tolerate inappropriate behavior, and teaches her puppy this by gently moving him away in a calm and assertive manner. If your dog jumps up on you at any time, you can take a step back, causing him to return to all fours. If your dog attempts to jump up on a guest, you can calmly and firmly move their body away from your guest, again causing them to return to all fours. If your dog continues to persist in displaying this inappropriate behavior, you can calmly and firmly move him into a different space and pay him no mind until he has calmed himself, thereby demonstrating to him that there are boundaries he must respect.
Ask your dog to sit patiently when guests arrive to your home. If you have successfully established yourself as his pack leader, your dog will respect you and listen to your commands. This can take time and patience, but is very well worth the effort.
Finally – don’t give up. It can take some time and patience to teach your dog that it is unacceptable to jump up, but it is very well worth all of your efforts. You need to remain a stable and assertive leader throughout the entire training process, and indeed throughout your dog’s entire life, so that they understand what is expected of them and consistently perform acceptable behaviors calmly and naturally.