It can be one of the best parts of the day: coming home and being excitedly greeted by your dog, who is purely ecstatic over your long-awaited return. You might be greeted with slobbery kisses, a wildly wagging tail, or both. Is your dog nearly knocking you over when he jumps up on you? This behavior may be frustrating, but there are ways to teach your pup not to jump.
Using positive reinforcement training methods—immediately rewarding desirable behaviors and ignoring undesirable behaviors—your dog will consistently have all four paws on the ground in no time. Here’s how:
Don’t allow the jumping to pay off — Your dog is jumping on you to get your attention. Looking at him, saying “no,” and pushing him away when he jumps is providing that attention, which is why he keeps doing it. Completely ignore your dog when he jumps on you—don’t look at him, don’t say anything, and walk away.
Get to your dog’s level, and immediately reward before he jumps — The moment you open the door and your dog comes running to greet you, kneel down to his level and immediately give praise (choose a positive word, like “yes,” and/or use a clicker) and a treat. This should only occur while your dog has all four feet on the ground and before he has jumped. Place the treats on the floor, so your dog learns that good things come from down low. Continue the clicking/praise and treats until your dog is calm.
Continue to ignore the jumping — If at any point during the greeting your dog jumps, do not say anything, turn around, and walk away. You can start fresh with another training session later.
Be consistent — Every greeting should be treated as a learning opportunity. Be sure your entire family and any visitors are on board with the training—everyone should ignore jumping and reward when all four paws stay on the ground.
Slowly reduce treats — As your dog learns that keeping all four paws on the ground means he’ll get treats and attention, you can slowly begin to decrease the number of treats given during training sessions, but still provide plenty of praise.
Questions or concerns when it comes to training your dog? Contact us.