Jumping up is a common problem in dogs when they greet their owners, friends and other pets, and in most cases it is not a habit that should be encouraged. You, as the dog’s owner, may not mind this behavior, but guests may well be annoyed, frightened or even worried about hygiene issues of having a dog’s face close to their own.
Some coaches have advocated kneeing a puppy in the chest from leaping up to prevent it. DO NOT do this – it may hurt the dog or your knee, and it will not cure the problem. You must find the reason the dog responds and tackle the problem from its root.
Jumping up usually begins with a trigger, such as a knock at the door or a ringing at the doorbell. Your dog will usually be alerted by this sound and will be ready to deal with a visitor – he is probably under the impression that it is his job to welcome a guest, he must check out any strangers and , above all, he must keep the pack safe. This is where the problems begin, because it should be the owner who has the responsibility of welcoming, checking and maintaining safety, not the dog.
So, when the trigger occurs, shut your dog safely away in another room. You will thus be effectively controlling your dog’s behavior and you can now assume the role of welcoming your guest in your own way. In doing this you will elevate your status in the pack and reduce your dog’s ranking, showing him that you are in control of who enters the house and in what manner they are greeted. From being jumped , you’ll also have saved your own guest!
When your dog is allowed through to see your guest, do this in a controlled manner and don’t allow him to jump up. As soon as his behavior is anything less than acceptable, banish him to another room. He will soon learn that he must follow your rules if he wants to stay with you.
If your dog jumps up at you yourself when you enter your home, there are two strategies you should employ for dealing with this. The first is to ignore your dog for a good five or ten minutes when you come home. Don’t look at him, don’t speak to him and don’t react if he does something to get your attention. Simply turn away and ignore even bad behavior. He will be very confused at first, especially if you’re in the habit of making a big fuss of him on entering the house, but after five to ten minutes he will settle down and maybe even lay down quietly. Then you can call him to you, praise him and give him a little treat.
If your dog consistently jumps up at you, it’s because he believes that he has been rewarded in some way for this behavior. Even being told off or shouted at can seem to be a reward to a dog that’s desperate to gain your attention. Here’s what you must do – when he jumps up, hold his front paws and keep him standing up on his back legs. Don’t let him down, infact you should stretch him upwards a little. He will wriggle and want to get down, and he may even mouth your hands to make you let go of his paws. Then let him go and reward him when he is back on the ground where he belongs. If he jumps up again, go through the same procedure until he learns that jumping up produces a situation he doesn’t find rewarding. You must be firm, kind and consistent to ensure that the message is being received loud and clear.