Puppies and dogs like to jump on people as a way of greeting. It’s their way of saying “Hello,” or “I’m so glad you’re home!” When your pet is still a little puppy, its jumping can be too cute to resist. In fact, you might love it as it makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over, keeping you so assured that your puppy loves you and misses you when you’re gone. But when they grow old, it becomes a nuisance – not only for you and your family, but for your visitors too.
Reason why dogs jump
Dogs typically greet each other nose to nose, and they want to do the same to us. Since they can’t reach our noses, they tend to jump up to reach our faces and get our attention. Also, they would try to lick parts of our faces or neck because they also lick other dog’s muzzle as a polite greeting.
When your cute puppy jumps up to lick your face, you might usually react by saying “Aww,” and then you would pet the dog. In the dog’s point of view, his jumping was rewarded. Now, he learned that people like it when he jumps and licks because he is rewarded with attention and touch.
Now, the puppy grows older and he still jumps up on you when you come home. He is a lot bigger and heavier now, and his paws are now hurting you. Now, you hate that gesture because besides that, he leaves muddy paw prints all over your clean pants. Sometimes, he leaves you scratches and ruins your stockings.
Chances are you would push him off, but he loves skin-to-skin contact in any form. You might say “No,” “Stop,” “Go away” or “Get off me,” but unfortunately he doesn’t understand English, and your voice would only reinforce his behavior since he earned your attention. You might knee him in the chest, but it would be mean and it won’t work because he would only try to appease you.
If you have guests, this behavior could cause embarrassment for you, too. There are people who don’t like animals jumping on them and having dog’s saliva all over them. Small children and frail elderly people might get knocked down when jumped over by your big pal. Those types of people might make a mental note to never visit your house again.
The best way to teach your dog not to jump on people is by ignoring him while he is jumping. Don’t shower him with affection or any kind of attention when you walk through the door. Do it only to human children, not dogs.
Whenever you are greeted with excited jumping and licking, keep your eyes and hands away from your dog. Stop the urge of expressing your irritation by pushing him away or telling him to get off. Instead, stand up straight and walk away. The dog would now put his front paws on the floor and walk to follow you. Then, it’s time to show your love by petting him and saying “Good dog.” Don’t withhold giving him attention once he finally landed on the floor, so that he would be able to make a connection that all paws on the floor results to the attention he wants.
If your dog jumps again after your touch, repeat the cold treatment. Pull your hand away, stand up and walk away again until he puts his feet on the floor again. Always pet him immediately after. If you have family or housemates living with you, tell them to do the same. The key is consistency, and your dog should easily adopt.
- You might think, what if someone comes over? Would my dog also behave? Well, you can’t be so sure. That’s why if guests would come over, you may either put your dog in his crate, restrain him with a leash or confine him in another room to prevent him from jumping over. Then you can just walk him around on a leash later to politely and calmly greet your guests. Walking them with a leash would give you control over them to prevent them from jumping.
- Besides petting and praising them, you may also give them treats when training. It could help emphasize the desired behavior better.
- Reinforce positive behavior by kneeling down to be at eye level with your dog. You may also avoid making them reach for toys or foods from you to limit dog jumping.
- Ask your family members to assist you with training, especially those the dog loves to jump on. You may also ask your friends to practice with your dog. Tell them to ignore the jumping and immediately give attention if the dog would sit or stand with all paws on the floor. The more times he would be trained about the right response to a visitor, the more quickly he would learn.
- If people would tell you they won’t mind it if your dog jumps and licks on them, don’t compromise nor make exceptions. Kindly tell them you want to be consistent with training your pet, so they would have to cooperate.
- Train your dog to understand the “sit” command. If he knows how to sit, it would be easier for you to keep him away from jumping at you or at other people. Whenever your pet would try to jump, you can ask him to “sit” and then you can proceed with greeting your dog. If your dog extends his paws on towards you again, you have to turn and walk away until the dog behaves. When the dog is seated, you can approach him again. Repeat this process until the dog remains seated whenever you approach him. Then, you can give him a treat as a reward for good behavior.
- Practice with as much people as possible. If your puppy seemed to be learning, try to test it by having a fake visitor to come in and greet your dog enthusiastically while you are holding them on a leash. If your dog jumps, pull them away from your fake guest and pet them when they behaved.
However, if your dog remained calm with paws glued to the floor, try it again without the leash. If your dog breaks his sitting position as your fake visitor comes in, practice some more with your pet leashed. If your pet sat patiently and continues to behave calmly, even towards other fake guests, then he has learned his lesson.
Training your dog not to jump on people may take time and a lot of turning in circles to teach this behavior but don’t get discouraged – it’s for your own good. Remember, it’s always harder to undo something than to teach them a new thing, so remain patient and persistent until it eventually pays off.