Teaching a Dog Not To Jump Up on You
Polite Dog Greeting: Not Jumping on You
Dogs are very social creatures, and a friendly dog’s initial greeting reaction is to sniff and lick our faces. Since we are taller than the average dog, this means they jump up to say hello. This isn’t something we humans particularly appreciate, or at least not all the time. And if you are the “not all the time” kind of person, I urge you to make that a “never.” Dogs have a hard time knowing when we think it’s ok, and when we would rather they didn’t. They don’t know the difference between your Sunday best and your grubby weekend attire.
Teaching your dog not to jump up during greeting isn’t about teaching your dog what not to do, but rather teaching your dog what TO DO. You can teach your dog to go find his toy, go to his crate, keep four on the floor, or put his butt on the ground. I tend to teach butt on the ground behaviors first.
I love teaching dogs and coaching dog parents how to teach their dogs to ask politely with their butt on the ground when they want something. If a dog wants petting, wants you to toss the dog toy, eat dinner, go outside….butt on the ground first. And I don’t want you to have to tell your dog to put his butt on the ground / SIT, I want him to do it automatically. I think by teaching our dogs to think for themselves, they understand a concept much better, and it sticks.
First, you must teach your dog at least an idea of the SIT behavior before you can expect him to offer it on his own. Put a healthy dog treat right to your dog’s nose, and move your hand slowly in an arc above your dog’s head and back. As soon as his rump hits the floor say “YES!” and follow quickly with a treat. Repeat this process until he is easily putting his butt on the ground. Tip: If your dog is leaping to get the treat, your treat lure is too high. Place your hand with the treat right ON his nose, so there isn’t any jumping to follow your lure, or to eat the treat.
Now that your dog has a basic understanding of putting his butt on the ground, it’s time to build on that so he will offer this behavior when he wants something. Again, this will lead to an offered sit for your attention instead of jumping.
Grab a handful of high-value treats or healthy dog food and do a quick round of SIT sessions. After, say, 3 sets, just smile at your dog, do not provide any luring or words. As soon as his butt hits the floor say “YES!” and give him a jackpot of treats. Quickly take a few playful steps away from your dog and stop and smile at him again. As soon as his butt hits the floor again, say “YES!” and treat. Repeat this game running around the house or yard.
You can vary the offered sit by doing the same process before other events that your dog wants to participate in. For example, if you are ready to toss your dog’s ball during a game of fetch, hold the ball close to your chest, smile at your dog and wait. As soon as his butt hits the floor, toss the ball. If your dog jumps up at you and the ball, do not say anything, just wait for the correct behavior. This is part of the learning process. He will be learning that the “jumping up” behavior does NOT get him things he wants, but the “butt on the ground” behavior does – a very good life lesson for your dog to learn. Tip: Do not tell your dog to sit during these lessons; the point of the offered sit is that your dog is thinking through the process and realizing on his own that sit makes good things happen and jumping up does not.
Now that you have incorporated various offered SIT behaviors with your dog for a variety of days and sessions, start to wait for your dog to SIT before you greet him. He doesn’t have to SIT/STAY, but if he jumps up, stop his attention and wait for the SIT again, and immediately pet and/or treat. You will be amazed at how quickly your dog can learn to offer a SIT instead of jumping. But you must be consistent. No flip-flopping: it’s ok one day but not another.
Is your dog a polite greeter? Tell me in the comments.
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