A dog’s natural appeasement greeting to another dog is to lick the other dog’s face. One could almost equate it to a human hug. When a dog sees a human as part of his family, he will often try to greet a human in the same manner. Due to our upright stature, this usually means the dog has to jump up to reach the face. For most of us, this behavior is incompatible to our lifestyles of wearing nice clothing, carrying delicate objects in our arms, having thin skin, and being thrown off balance by larger dogs.
If you cannot immediately get to the dog’s level for an appropriate doggy greeting then follow these steps for encouraging your dog to keep his front feet off of you and your guests.
- Do not reward the dog when he jumps up. No petting, no words, no screaming, no attention, no eye contact.
- As soon as his front feet return to the ground, immediately give him calm and soothing praise or give him a treat. Hold on to his collar so he doesn’t jump back up while you are praising him.
- When you stand up straight again, be prepared for him to jump up again. Stand still and do not reward him.
- Repeat this sequence each and every time the dog jumps on you. Set the dog up by going out the door and coming back in again. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until he decides not to jump on you the next time you come in the door. End the session with lots of praise, petting, treats, playtime – whatever is most rewarding for your dog.
- Be consistent in refraining from rewarding the jumping up behavior. This is challenging for some people until they become more aware of their own behavior. It is easy to concentrate when we are in a "training session." Outside of the "training session" we sometimes tend to just pet the dog and keep him quiet while he is jumping on us so we can continue our phone call in peace or get the bag of groceries to the counter.
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