Picture this. You walk into the house with an armful of groceries and Fido comes flying at you with an enthusiastic greeting of tail wags, licks, and jumping, jumping, and… more jumping. You’re still in your work clothes and his nail catches a loose stitch. Oh boy, now he’s ruining your clothes. Plus, it hurts when he scratches you whenever he jumps on you. You may be tolerating this and it was cute when he was smaller, but friends and other family members don’t think it’s funny anymore. How do you get him to stop?
Step #1: Turn your back each time he jumps on you. If you remove your attention as a result of the jumping, he will eventually realize it’s not a behavior that works. Keep in mind that if at any point in history, he’s gotten rewarded for jumping (even if it came in the form of negative words from you), ignoring jumping may mean that the behavior will get worse before it gets better. Don’t worry. The behavior should go away as long as you are committed to ignoring him for jumping on you.
Step #2: Teach him that the best way to get your attention is to sit for you instead. Tether him to a piece of furniture and approach him. If he sits as you walk towards him, mark the behavior with a click (if you are using a clicker) or “Yes!” and reward him. If he tries to jump, turn your back and walk away. Practice this exercise often.
Step #3: Set up some baby gates around the house. If at any time he jumps on you and he becomes quite persistent even if you turn your back on him, you can issue a time-out by stepping over a gate. This way he can’t chase after you and continue to jump on your back. Don’t return to him until he’s settled down.
Step #4: When having Fido greet others, have him on leash. You may step on the leash and have your foot serve as a tether. If your dog might get mouthy with your ankle because you’re stepping on the leash, then simply shorten the leash and hold Fido on a short lead. Instruct your guest to approach and reward him for doing anything other than jumping. Appropriate behaviors include standing, sitting, and lying down. You might also help your dog sit by taking a treat to his nose and luring him. Keep your reinforcement rate pretty high if your dog really enjoys jumping on people.
© Give Paw Dog Training LLC 2017