If not taught any other way, dogs will greet people instinctively usually by pulling towards the person like a steam train, jumping up on them to greet face-to-face and putting their nose where it doesn‘t belong!
As jumping up is such a natural and self-rewarding behaviour (i.e. it just feels good) we need to use both management techniques to control situations so your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to jump up while we work on targeted training exercises to help teach our pups what we would rather they do instead.
Common situations where jumping up is likely:
The elements of training to teach calm greetings:
Management strategies while you train your dog:
Remember: what dogs learn first they usually learn best. Once allowed to become established jumping up at people can be a tough one to retrain.
Puppies and small dogs that are picked up and kissed and cuddled will also be pre-disposed to jumping. When they are picked up and held near someone’s face it’s usually a very positive and hugely rewarding place for them. They learn super quickly that being high off the ground and being close to the human's face is a great thing.
Inevitably, when the dog stops being picked up off the ground because the dog is now too old or too big, they will still be very motivated and want to try to reach up high and get to your face.
Puppies do need to learn to be comfortable being picked up and placed on a surface like an exam or grooming table and they also need to be gently accustomed to the restraint of being picked up and held but scientists agree the best advice if you have a puppy is to avoid picking up for kisses and cuddles near your face (tough one I know!)
It’s really important to be consistent. Everyone in your family must follow the training program all the time. You can't let your dog jump on people in some circumstances, but not others.
Exercise 8.1 Four on the Floor
Keep in Mind
“Calm” is the word to keep in mind when teaching exercise 8.2. It's important that you don't move forward until you have a relaxed and calm dog. This will ensure that you are training your dog to be comfortable with new people, as well as preventing him from jumping on people in excitement.