Why do dogs jump on people?
Dogs get excited and want to greet people face to face as they would when meeting other dogs which can be frowned upon by humans especially when a larger dog is jumping.
How do we stop it?
One of the most common goals my clients have in class is to stop their dogs from jumping on people during greetings. So if we don't want them jumping on people we need to teach them an alternative, appropriate behavior to replace the jumping.
Where do we start?
It starts at home, if your dog is used to jumping all over you then meeting someone new is so much more exciting and naturally they will be jumping all over that person as well since this is a rewarding and acceptable behavior at home.
Let's get to work!
The moment your dog tries to jump on you say "OFF" and turn away immediately or even walk away if needed. Remember when naming behaviors the shorter the better so saying "OFF" works well.
It's important to have your dog on leash if anyone is going to come over so you can redirect and have a bit more control around greetings while you continue working on it.
Make sure to give your dog attention when they are not jumping, when all four paws are on the floor. They will start realizing when they jump instead of getting attention, they lose all attention while calm behaviors with all four on the floor will earn them the attention they want from their humans.
Tone of your voice/your enthusiasm.
The more excited you sound, the more excited your dog will be making that jumping worse. When working on this try to sound calm when greeting them and even when praising them when marking the correct behaviors. Praise your dog calmly when they aren't jumping while giving them some love. Always notice the good behavior!
The sitting politely for petting exercise.
This is a simple greeting exercise but it is done on leash to be able to control any jumping. First you should only practice when your dog is tired, this ensures you are setting your dog up for success. You will need two people to practice in your home. One person will have the tired dog on leash, asking the dog to sit then while holding the leash step on the leash so if they try to jump up they cannot. The other person will walk up and say hi to the dog, if the dog is doing well not trying to jump, then the person pets the dog.
How the dog is being pet matters, if the dog cannot contain his/her excitement one tiny little pet or a chin scratch is plenty.
The person holding the leash should give the dog good feedback, praise the dog calmly when the dog does not jump on the person who was just giving him/her a little pet.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
As you are progressing with this exercise the person petting the dog would give more pets, might talk to the dog, become more enthusiastic. Eventually walking out of the room, coming back to pet, closing/opening the door then returning to pet the dog. All of these things make it more exciting taking the exercise to the next level.
If the dog is trying to jump, the moment those front paws are lifting off the ground is when the person holding the leash would say "OFF" but the dog cannot complete the jump since the person is stepping on their leash. The person who is about to pet the dog would either turn their back or walk away. This tells the dog you won't get attention/petting when you jump.
Eventually you won't need to step on the leash anymore but when you are practicing this with a new person who does not live with you then I recommend putting the leash back on as this person will be so much more exciting.
Hook your 6 ft leash to the dog's regular collar or back hook harness. Do not use a choke collar, prong collar (can cause an injury) or an Easy Walk Harness (it will slip too low, constricting the legs making the dog fall on their face) while working on this exercise.