Young dogs greet older dogs by greeting under their chin, and some think this is one reason dogs jump up on people. Also, of course, dogs get a lot of attention for jumping up, even if you scold them. Here are some recommendations to change this behavior:
Jumping up when you enter the house
Prevention is key! Here are some preventative tips:
- As you enter, have a treat in your hand, and greet your dog by bringing the treat from their nose to your knee. Tell them to sit, and give them the treat. Keep giving them treats to keep them there. When you release them, toss a treat away for them to find. Keep tossing little treats on the floor as you move around the home to keep the dog’s feet on the floor; this frequent rewarding will reap benefits over time.
- Practice asking your dog to sit when they are 4 feet away from you; simply say the cue when they are 6 feet away and make the sweeping upward gesture with your hand. Toss the treat behind them, and repeat. You can then do that when you come in the door.
- Scatter a handful of treats behind your dog as you enter. When they come back after eating them, ask for a sit.
- If you do not have a treat, hold your hand down as they approach; before they jump, gently place your hand over their neck, with your thumb in their collar so they cannot jump up. As you do this, give them a nice neck rub. They will come to expect this from you.
- Some people like to kneel down when they get home so their dog can still greet them without jumping. Of course, a big dog can knock you flat with their enthusiasm, so be careful!
- More for the small-to mid-sized dogs: some invite their dog onto a nearby chair or couch for a more face-to-face greeting without the dog jumping up. This result is the dog running there when you get home instead of jumping.
Jumping up on approaching people
One person should have the dog on lead and tell him to sit while another approaches. If the dog breaks his sit and starts to jump up on the approaching person, he/she should immediately back up. Repeat this over and over until the dog remains seated, at which time the approaching person will praise the dog and give him a treat…if the dog holds their sit until the person reaches them.
Repeat this with as many different people approaching as you can, so that the dog learns that he must sit to greet all people.
Teaching a “Place” behavior when company arrives
Teach your dog to run to their bed and lie down when you point and give a “Place!” cue. Give them treats there, frequently at first, and fewer as they learn the skill. Have a helper knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Say “Place!” and help your dog run to the bed. With lots of practice, they will run to their bed when the doorbell rings.
Note: if your dog is not good with strangers, have their “place” be in another room behind a closed door. Practice the same drills so the behavior will be fluent when you need it.