Jumping up on family or on strangers, is a very common complaint among dog owners. So why do dogs jump up? Part of it has to do with inherited pack behaviors. When wolves return to the pack after hunting, the lower pack members lick their faces in greeting. It's natural for some dogs to want to lick their humans' faces when they have been away! But since human faces are so far above dogs' heads, the dogs will jump up.
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to jumping up in greeting. If you and your dog have been through an obedience course, things will be easier! Any time someone comes to the house, command your dog to sit before they have a chance to jump up. Offer treats and praise, your dog will learn that not jumping is a positive thing.
Training your dog to sit to greet people will take patience. Your dog is excited to see whoever it is at the door. Reward them for even ten seconds of good behavior. Try to stay calm and don't shout or wrestle the dog. They may see this as play. You may need to use training disks (a set of linked disks that make a loud clatter when dropped) or even a small water pistol to interrupt your dog's excited behavior and give you the chance to issue a command to sit. With patience and consistency, your dog will learn to associate an unpleasant experience, the noise of the disks or a squirt of water in the face, with jumping up. Sitting and behaving will be rewarded with attention, treats, and affection.
Some dogs may be jumping up to gain your attention. It's a good technique. It can be very hard to ignore a large dog jumping at you! But if you can completely ignore your dog, no eye contact, no pushing, and no shouting, you may find that his attention jumping starts to fade after a few weeks.
Jumping for attention is learned during puppy days, when it's so cute to see the little pup put his paws on your lap for attention! Not so cute once the puppy grows into a hundred pound bruiser. Your dog wants your attention, and it's hard to avoid him when he's jumping all over you. But if you completely ignore him and be as boring as possible, he will learn that jumping for attention just doesn't work.
I have another suggestion seen on the show "It's Me or The Dog". If you are sitting when the dog jumps on you, get up, turn you back, and cross your arms. When the dog calms down, turn around and give her/him attention, petting, "good girl/boy". This also works while standing or walking. Just turn around with arms crossed and wait. It may take several attempts at reinforcing calm behavior, but it works. The idea, says the trainer, is to be "boring" when the dog jumps and to reward desired behavior. The dog gets attention for being calm and not for being jumpy.
Some dogs jump on you for control. Instead of stepping back when they are in mid-leap, step forward towards the dog. Make the dog back down, when he/she does reward them with words or treats. Keep doing the "step forward" until they get the message, good things come with good behavior.
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