Why do dogs jump when they greet us?
When dogs greet one another, they sniff each other’s faces. Your dog jumps up on you because they are simply trying to get closer to your face to say hello. Dogs don’t understand that humans don’t like this behaviour, so training them to stop leaping in the air is usually something every dog owner will face. Luckily, it’s not difficult to teach your dog some more people-friendly ways to greet human guests.
Tips to stop your dog from jumping
It’s best not to push or yell at your dog when they jump up on you. This tells your dog that you’re excited about their greeting. Follow these simple steps to effectively school your dog in basic greeting etiquette:
- turn your back, fold your arms, and ignore them when they jump – repeat this move until your dog stops jumping and either stands politely or sits
- pat and praise your dog once they are calm
- if this praise results in your dog jumping once again, repeat the first step until they stop
- gently praise them when they are calm again
- repeat this until your dog learns that only calm, polite behaviour will result in positive reinforcement
- for dogs who jump on guests, try clipping their lead on before you answer the door
- make your dog sit politely before allowing your guest to pat them
- if they are too excitable when your guest arrives at the front door, move your dog to another room and only introduce them on the lead once they have settled down
- again, don’t allow your guest to pat your dog until they are calm
Leaping in the air in a door or gateway
Dogs will leap in the air when you are trying to pass through a door or gateway because they are overjoyed at the prospect of social contact with you. They simply ‘jump for joy’! To train them out of this habit, try the following tips:
- place your hand on the door or gate handle as if you were about to open the door
- as soon as your dog starts to jump, remove your hand from the handle and stand still, remaining silent and looking away from your dog.
- do not put your hand back on the handle until your dog is no longer leaping in the air
- repeat this process until you can place your hand on the handle without your dog leaping in the air
- progress to turning the handle
- if your dog leaps up, repeat the process as before
You dog has learnt that every time it leaps up nobody comes through the door/gate to visit it. If it is still, then somebody will come through the door/gate, so the dog chooses the non-jumping reaction to people at the gate/door.
Gradually, you will progress to the point of opening the door or gate without your dog leaping in the air. Reward your dog for refraining from jumping with praise.
The key to success with these methods is consistency. Everybody who meets your dog has to respond to the dog in the same way every time they interact with your dog.
Reinforcing good behaviour rather than punishing bad behaviour is the most effective way to train your pets. Dogs often don’t realise they have broken the rules, but they easily recognise when they’ve been told they’re good dogs, and will respond by repeating the same good behaviour. Your local Greencross Vets can assist you in better understanding your dog’s behaviours. If you have concerns about bad behaviour in your dog, contact your vet today.