One of the most obnoxious behaviors a dog can exhibit is jumping up on its’ owners or on visitors. The dog is trying to elicit attention and is showing dominance. When he was a puppy this was considered “cute” and he was rewarded with people bending over to pet and fuss over him. Now that the dog is 20 or more pounds the jumping can quickly escalate from annoying to dangerous. His rough greetings may knock packages out of your arms, soil your clothes, terrify children and injure frail visitors. When you yell at the dog he is still getting attention, so you are continuing to reinforce the bad behavior. The first rule of dog training is don’t let your puppy get away with behaviors you don’t want displayed when he is a grown dog.
Okay, so now how do you stop the jumping? First everyone in the family and your guests have to be told how to respond to his presence in the same manner. When you enter the house, don’t make eye contact with the dog, ignore him until he calms down by himself. Don’t repeatedly tell him to sit. When the dog jumps on you, plant your feet in a shoulder wide stance and wobble your legs back and forth. Dogs won’t stand on an unstable surface, so he will back away and perhaps try one or two more times. Then you will notice him “air jumping” rather than touching you. Once he does this, the old behavior is beginning to be replaced with the new behavior. He has to learn that whenever he jumps on someone there is no balance point. Keep doing this greeting consistently for a week and you will be surprised at the resolution of the problem. If he jumps on you while you are sitting, wobble your legs back and forth. Once the dog has all four feet on the ground, praise him immediately. If he jumps again, wobble again. If your dog is a larger breed and jumps up putting his feet on your chest, pivot around with your back to the dog until he is calm and sitting. The key is to ignore the dog and not give him attention. The next step is to teach the dog to go sit and stay in his spot with a treat until the guests have entered and are ready to greet him.
Enjoy a well-mannered dog that is an asset to your family. Invest in training to transform your dog into the best friend you have always wanted. Call Jean Cary for an evaluation and a customized training program for your dog.