Does your dog jump up when excited or to greet people? Jumping is an innate greeting behavior, often observed between canines.
Many believe that it originates from an instinct in puppies to jump and lick the muzzle of adult dogs to obtain food. The attempt to lick the muzzle (“kiss”) continues as a greeting ritual in many dogs. Because dogs are shorter and we stand upright they likely jump to try to reach our face. Some behaviorists suggest they also jump to sniff the human’s signature breath.
Correcting The Behavior
- When not in an excited state, teach the dog to sit reliably when instructed.
- Make a pact with other members of the family to not greet or pet a dog who is jumping. Instead, turn away, move behind a door, or step on a leash the dog drags.
- Don’t scold, talk to, or even instruct while the dog is still jumping.
- Delay greetings to reduce excitement. The guideline is to greet the dog (reward) when calm enough to sit.
- YOU should be the calm one. When ready to greet, give a calm loving greeting.
- Require a “sit for greeting.” Dogs can’t jump and sit at the same time.
- If your dog ignores the “sit” command, then ignore the dog, or close a door between you.
- Outside your front door, place a shake can and container of dog treats. When you come in, ask your dog to sit, and if he sits, give a cookie. If he jumps on you, shake the can to startle him. Repeat until he gets the cookie, then go outside and start over. Once he will reliably sit, leave the tools outside for the next family member.
- With guests, yell through the door, “Just a minute until I put my dog away.” (They will appreciate it.) then put your dog on a leash.
- Give your dog a special treat to go into the portable kennel or tethering spot.
How You May Be Encouraging the Bad Behavior
People often unintentionally train their dog to jump up on them, and undo efforts to correct the problem by petting the dog during jumping. This usually happens when the Pet Parent comes home and gives the dog a juicy, loving greeting as a response to jumping up. This intermittent reward will reliably foil any attempt to correct the behavior.