Jumping may be cute when your puppy is young, but when your pup grows up (especially if you have a large breed dog) the behavior can be a bit obnoxious. It can even become dangerous--if your dog jumps on an older person or a young child, they could knock them down and cause serious injuries. Dog nails can easily tear your skin and if your dog is muddy, you definitely don’t want them jumping on you! Generally dogs who jump up on you are overexcited or overstimulated (and this can sometimes result in excited urination too!), and it is our job as their owners to calm them down and teach them to control their excitement.
Teach your dog a “place” command. What is a place command? A place command is kind of like an extended stay--it is often taught by giving the dog a “place board” (this can be a raised cot, a bed, or even a bath towel) and teaching your dog to relax until they are released from that position. Having a “place” command allows the dog to calm itself, when the dog is calm, it can then be rewarded by a treat or allowing it to come say hi. To teach your dog a “place” command, start by using a raised cot or bed (preferably something that is different from the texture of the floor). Lead your dog to get up on the bed or cot and then reward the dog with a treat and say “YES!” Repeat this process for a few minutes every single day, until you feel your dog is ready to start building duration. Then you start putting your dog in “place” then waiting 10 seconds to release your dog from the position, then rewarding! You can keep doing this until your dog can hold a “place” for an extended period of time (some dog can do hours!).
Knee your dog in the chest. If your dog jumps up to greet you, you can deter this behavior by kneeing the dog in the chest. This usually knocks the dog out of breath for a second and creates mild discomfort. After the dog learns not to jump on you, you can ask the dog to sit and then reward the calm behavior. Large dogs are stronger than we think, so trust me, you won’t be hurting them.Your goal is not to hurt them at all, it’s simply to create a short sense of discomfort to teach them that the behavior is unacceptable. You may need to knee a stubborn dog several times and a bit more firmly in order to get the message across.
Turn away from your dog. When your dog jumps up to greet you, it is usually because the dog wants to look you in the face. To discourage this you can turn away, so the dog bounces off your back instead of on your face. This usually requires you to move faster than the dog and be able to predict when the dog will jump up. When your dog stops, reward this with treats or attention. Wait until your dog sits, and then reward that behavior.
When you are trying these methods out, always remember to reward calm behavior and to remain calm. If you are squealing and yelling and making quick movements while the dog is jumping up on you, they will become even more excited. Stay calm, don’t make any quick movements, and try not to use a high-pitched voice when speaking to your dog. Stay calm and discourage the unwanted behavior and reward the good behavior. It is also important to tell people who are coming over to ignore your dog or use any of these methods. It is difficult not to go over and pet a cute dog, but I find one of the biggest challenges is having my family members or friends reinforce these behaviors for my dog. Consistency is key! Remember, encouraging good behaviors keep you safe and your pet safe and happy as well!