Dogs love to greet their dog friends by jumping on one another. It’s a way for them to show affection. However, this is not exactly a polite way for dogs to greet people. If you have a dog with a jumping habit, the following tips should help teach your dog a more appropriate way to greet his human friends.
1. Don’t engage with a dog who’s jumping.
It’s best not to respond to a dog who’s jumping up on you. The three most important forms of communication and rewards for a dog are visual, physical and verbal. By not giving your dog any of these forms of communication and rewards until he stops jumping, you’re letting him know his behaviour is unacceptable. Once he stops jumping, you then can reward the dog with visual, physical and verbal communication. However, giving the dog too much attention soon after he stops jumping can trigger the dog to jump again.
2. Teach the dog a new skill.
Rather than correct a dog for jumping, try to teach your dog a new behaviour. Try ‘back up!’ so you can apply that command at the right moment, and only then reach down to pet your dog. To teach your dog to back up, drape the lead down in front of your dog and place a foot on the lead with plenty of slack. Stand up straight and cheerfully say “back up” while stepping towards your dog and sliding your foot and the lead forward at the same time. Also put one hand out like a stop sign as your move into your dog’s space, as your dog moves back. If he jumps in the process, the lead inhibits his quest to be airborne. Then follow up with ‘watch’ or ‘sit’ before petting him. Once he knows “back up,” you can apply it in situations when he might jump, before it even happens. Then, of course you’d use treats or praise to reward your dog for appropriate behaviour.
3. Don’t lean over or push on a dog who’s jumping.
Often, people will lean over and try to stop the dog from jumping by pushing on him. This touch can feel like approval to the dog, and he'll lean in against the pressure.
4. Stand ‘like a tree.’
If your dog insists on jumping regardless of what you have tried, you should stand like a tree, cross your arms, look to the sky and freeze. When your dog has stopped jumping, try taking a step. If the dog starts jumping again, you should stop and stand like a tree again. Your dog will come to realise that if he wants to communicate with you, he must not jump.