Calm Your Jumpers
Teach Your Dog How to Greet People
Puppies and dogs naturally jump on people when they say hello. Why? Because we are taller than they are, they are happy to see us, and they are seeking attention. So it is perfectly natural for dogs to jump on us to reach our faces and get our attention!
The key to teaching your dog not to jump on you when he/she greets you is to let them know you only greet dogs that remain calm, keep four paws on the floor and/or sit. Although you can’t tell them with words – you can with your actions! When your dog greets you – his/her goal is to get your attention. By knowing this, you can now play the “greeting game” and teach your dog some self-control.
The Greeting Game
Find a treat that your dog really likes – we are talking doggie drooling here! Approach them with good body language (standing sideways, soft eyes, talking softly) and calm behavior. WAIT for any display of CALM behavior (four paws on the floor, sit, any good behavior/calm) and reward with a treat. They will soon begin to understand that they are being rewarded for the GOOD behavior and not the undesirable behavior. By rewarding good behavior you are instilling in their mind that calm behavior in the presence of others equals yummy treats.
Once your dog has learned to greet politely, try it in different situations/locations such as outdoors as dogs do not generalize well. One suggestion would be to recruit several friends to teach your dog to greet visitors politely as well. One at a time, have your friend practice the “greeting game”. Have each of your friends do several repetitions. Try in different areas and always go at your dog’s pace and start out slowly. New people, new locations –it’s like starting over again!
What not to do:
- Don’t become really excited when you greet your dog. The calmer you are the calmer your dog will be.
- Don’t shout at your dog when they jump up on you or others. Shouting will just make them more exited and cause more jumping.
- Don’t try to grab your dog or push them away. They think this is attention and this causes more jumping up.
- Don’t be dramatic by withdrawing your attention and turning your back completely on your dog. If your dog feels ignored they may work harder to get your attention…more jumping up! Instead, slightly turn sideways, stand still, and look away – not directly at your dog. When your dog is calm (not jumping) – be sure to reward this behavior with plenty of yummy treats!
The more times you can enable your dog to perform a behavior successfully, the more consistent your dog will be in the future.
By Kassandra Zess-Pagel
If you enjoyed this article, visit our training tips page for more helpful information.