So I’ll tell you the basic story of how this bad behavior comes to be first as sometimes when we understand the cause the solution makes more sense!
A new puppy or just new family pet dog is so adorable and sweet that people forget to set boundaries from the start. It all starts with that first jump- typically viewed as cute to see how excited he gets to see you when you return from somewhere. So maybe he gets told he is a “good boy” or patted down because you too are happy to see him!
And herein starts the problem! You have just rewarded him for the jumping up behavior by giving him the attention he was craving. In his mind this was a successful maneuver and one he will repeat again and again and again! Even if after a few times you start pushing him off you or yelling “no” he’s still winning because he is still getting the attention he craves! Dog’s don’t really care whether attention is positive or negative – it’s all attention!
So that’s typically how we get here! But now what? How do we stop the problem”?
Step 1: Ignore the behavior. People have a tough time with this because it seems cruel to them. But because both negative and positive reactions have similar results in your pup’s mind it is the best option. And I mean ignore – no calling out words/names, no physically pushing up/down, nothing! Stand like a statue. The hope here is when he realizes the jumping up tactic no longer works he will want to adjust his behavior to get his reward.
Step 2: Teach your pup sit!
When he stops jumping up immediately put him in a sit position. “Sit” is a relatively easy trick to teach a pet, most learning just by observing other dogs and/or you repetitively asking him to sit. Typically you can hold a treat above him slightly and when he looks up at it his butt will hit the floor, effectively putting him in a “Sit”. Once his butt hits the floor then shower him with the attention he is seeking. Thus teaching him that this is the position he will get his pets/treats in. Initially at first the excitement of you reaching down to pet will cause him to come out of his sit. Insist he sit back down before you give any reward.
Step 3: Repeated exposure
So the first two steps solve him jumping on you. But then it is time to worry about friends, family, or anybody else who may come waltzing through the front door!
Grab a couple people you frequently have stop by and enlist their help in changing the routine. They will follow the same steps – ignore and place in a sit before giving reward. For best results you can practice with you giving the “sit” command, your company sometimes giving the command, and you sometimes not even being present.
This will help enforce the rule that in any situation if somebody tells them to sit at the door they have to before any attention/reward is paid!
Hope this article helps a few of you out there! This is so common it’s ridiculous and I’ve seen pet owners struggle with it year in/year out trying to change it. Just start early and be consistent every time you return home and your pup will be the “good dog” you know he can be!