We can define jumping up on people as a natural canine behavior. After all, dogs love to say hello face to face when they meet someone. And by jumping up, they can say it face to face. And jumping up is a guarantee for attention. But from a human point of view, jumping up can be an annoying and unwanted behavior. Sometimes even dangerous.
Why dangerous? Because you risk spoiling dressy clothes with muddy paws. Sometimes your pup might even knock people over. That applies even more to children and seniors. So, what can you do? Well, the first thing is to understand how canine behavior works.
To stop your dog from jumping on people, you have to find an alternative and more polite way to say hello. Teach your pet to greet people appropriately. And by doing that, you can stop dog jumping on people.
Why do dogs jump up on people?
Many theories examine the reason dogs jump up on people. Among the more popular are dominance and greeting behavior. But the reality is that dogs jump up to say “look at me”.
Dogs want face to face greetings, just as much as we do. And in many cases, you might reward that unwanted jumping behavior by giving your dog what he/she wants. If you reward jumping up on you with attention and praise, your dog will think that is the correct way to greet people.
And even more IMPORTANT, your dog doesn’t necessarily understand that when you push him off when jumping that he does a bad thing. He might even see that as a reward and treasured attention.
The Big Mistake Owners make
A lot of time, owners read things like turn your back and your dog will stop jumping. WRONG. If you turn your back to the dog, he might move up and come in front of you. And start jumping again.
Other mistakes are borderline cruel. For example, if you read things like sprinkling your dog with water, vinegar, or lemon juice, just IGNORE it. That will not help. You are being cruel to your dog. And all because he jumped on some people.
What you are doing here is punishing your dog for saying hello to people. After all, ask yourself, do you want a friendly pup?
Training an alternative greeting method
The most important part of training is finding an undesirable behavior, and turning it into something desirable. In other words, ask yourself, “How Do You Want Your Dog to Greet People”?
And once you answer that, you can practice that greeting.
Now, there is another option, and that is ignoring your dog when jumping. But even if you ignore your dog, what happens with strangers? Can you be precise 100% with every stranger your dog meets? Will you yell to every stranger to not pet him if he jumps? There are dog-friendly people all around us, and they might not mind when your dog jumps.
And what you get is a confused dog. It is frustrating for him to know when he can jump and when he cannot.
The best way to stop dog from jumping on people is by teaching your puppy an alternative greeting behavior. For some people, that is sit. For others, that is lie down.
By teaching your puppy to sit when greeting people, you can stop the jumping. Rewarding the good behavior will decrease the frequency of the bad behavior.
Now, how to teach your dog to sit and wait for a reward when greeting people? Easy, TROUBLESHOOT it. Call up to 10 people you know. Set them up in the park. And walk your dog from one person to another. Before a familiar face comes up, put your dog in a sit position. When your friend comes, he can pet the dog, and even give him a treat (supply your friends with treats beforehand).
Repeat the exercise with the next person. And so on. But practice the behavior when you come back home as well. If your dog is anxious to greet you when you come back home, let him calm for a second, tell him to sit, and then give him attention, praise, and treats.
One-time session will not help. Practice sit for greeting every day for a few weeks. And eventually, your dog will learn what is the appropriate way to greet people.