Dogs jump for many reasons. Don’t we like to see people’s faces when we say hello? Jumping while greeting is a great way for a dog to get your attention. Some dogs will jump from sheer excitement. Ever feel so excited that you just want to leap around? Excitement produces physical energy and this energy has to go somewhere. On the other side of the coin – some dogs will jump because they feel uneasy when someone comes into the house. Jumping becomes a controlling/coping mechanism that allows the dog to deal with the new intrusion.
There are a number of ways you can control your dog’s jumping.
- If your dog is jumping from pure excitement then it is wise to manage your environment by not allowing the dog to greet people when they first come through the door. Keep your dog behind a baby gate and don’t allow him to greet until he is calm.
- Be consistent. Don’t allow the dog to jump up on you when greeting and expect him not to jump up on guests when they come into the house. Mixed messages are confusing and unfair.
- An effective way to stop some dogs from jumping up is to ignore them while they are jumping. Each time the dog jumps up at you – turn your back. Don’t look, talk or touch the dog at any time it is trying to jump. Fold your arms in front and be boring. When he stops jumping wait for four seconds of four paws on the floor then reward this with your attention in a calm manner. If your dog jumps again, repeat. Sometimes the dog jumps harder and higher to get your attention. This is known as an extinction burst. What has worked before is no longer getting attention so the dog tries harder. Be persistent because eventually he will give up! Remember ignore the crazy and reward the calm.
- One of the best ways you can teach a dog or dogs not to jump, especially when people come through the front door, is to teach them to do something else instead of the jumping behavior. The energy has to go somewhere, so if it can be redirected into another behavior such as teaching the dogs to go to a mat or area and stay there until guests have entered and everyone has calmed down, then allow them to greet in a calm manner, this still allows the dogs to expend energy, but in a controlled way.
- If your dog is unconfident around guests and jumps to be controlling, do not allow your dog to greet your guests. Put him in a place where he can be calm and confident. When guests are seated allow your dog to come in and say hello. If your dog is aggressive in any way to strangers it is your primary responsibility to keep your guests safe. If this means your dog is away while guests are in your home, so be it. You will have a happier dog and happier guests.