As a dog trainer I spend lots of time correcting the behaviour of dogs greeting people by jumping up. Jumping up at both visitors to your home and the members of the family . It didn’t seem too much of a problem when the dog was a puppy in fact it can be cute with that type of welcome home. But a jumping adult dog is no fun for you, granny or small children. Little did we know but inadvertently when were trying to stop it using words like “no” or “down” and pushing the dog away with our hands we are reinforcing that its ok to the dog to greet you in this way. Some people often say I thought the dog would grow out of it well they wont!.
So we have to now teach the dog that the new behaviour of politely greeting people is four paws on the floor or a good reliable sit. This learning a new behaviour for your dog will take some time and lots of repetition from the whole family to correct. So don’t expect a quick fix in a couple of days, here are a few tips to make a start on correcting my dog jumps up. The starting point is you will need lots of tasty food treats in little pots around the house, you must always mark the behaviour you want always with a “good” and to start always treat reward after this mark. Rewarding the behaviour you want to happen when it happens will result in it happening more often. A pat on the head or a well done is no good.
The most common hotspot is normally the door you return home through so be ready with your treats. You need to teach your dog what you want them to do without jumping up first. Prepared with your treat as you come through the front door, move away from your dog and place a treat on the floor. As your dog goes for the treat step aside a few steps and place another treat on the floor. As your dog turns to look at you always mark the turn with a “good” and again when he gets the treat. You are now distracting your dog and keeping all 4 paws down at the moment and your dog is anticipating treats on the floor not from above. As you repeat this several times your dog is distracted and starting to calm as you are marking and rewarding. If your dog starts to jump step aside to get their paws of you and treat down again. Once calm if your dog has a good reliable sit then give the cue and get them sat down you can praise them and move into the house .We are now starting to teach the dog that we want a different welcome with all the paws down as opposed to jumping up.
Start the process now it will take hundreds of repetitions so be patient, don’t give up it may appear to get worse for a period of time. This is because your dog was used to the welcome he gave you or your visitor and now they cant work out why your not reinforcing it by letting it happen. So train slow and calm and make sure everyone at home are committed to supporting this change. If so in time it will work. Teaching the new behaviour and ignoring the old by treat rewarding what behaviour you want is the key to success.