One of the most common problems dog owners face is their dog jumping up on people when they walk through the door. In many cases, this problem is attributed to the dog’s hyperactivity or poor training, but in reality, the problem actually lies with the dog owner. Many dog owners inadvertently teach their dogs to exhibit this behavior, though they may not realize it. It is possible to curb your dog’s jumping behavior, but it will take some time and patience.
Why Dogs Jump Up on People
Think back to when your dog was a cuddly little puppy. He was so small and so cute that you let him get away with just about anything. When your puppy climbed into your lap or jumped around when you came in the door, you rewarded him by petting him and giving him your attention. Fast forward a few months and your full-grown dog is still exhibiting this kind of behavior, but it is no longer so cute when a fifty-pound dog jumps on your guests as soon as they walk through the door. The things your dog learned as a puppy stay with him in adulthood so, if you reward your dog for jumping up on people when he is a puppy, he will expect the same response as an adult.
Dealing with Your Dog’s Jumping Behavior
Once your dog learns that jumping up on people earns him attention, he will be inclined to do it at every opportunity. At this point, it can be difficult to change the behavior, but with a little time and patience, it can be done. The key to dealing with this type of behavior is to teach your dog that jumping up on people does not get him what he wants – attention. Follow the steps below to teach your dog not to jump on people:
- Enlist a friend or two to help you with this training sequence and have them stand outside the house on the other side of the front door.
- Bring your dog into the entryway and have your friend ring the doorbell – it does not take long for dogs to associate the sound of the doorbell with the arrival of guests, so he will probably start getting exciting as soon as he hears it.
- Let your friend enter the house and wait for your dog to start jumping up.
- As soon as your dog jumps up, your friend should place his hands behind his back and avoid giving the dog any kind of attention.
- If the dog keeps jumping up after a few seconds, your friend should turn around and leave the house.
- Repeat this sequence a few times then start to incorporate the "sit" command your dog should already know.
- After ringing the doorbell, have one friend enter the house and immediately give your dog the “sit” command.
- If your dog sits, have your friend praise the dog and give him a few seconds of calm petting and positive attention.
- Repeat this sequence until your dog remains calm when your friend enters the house.
Once your dog gets the hang of this training sequence you can try it with other friends and family. The key to success with this training sequence is to be consistent – every time your dog jumps up on someone, the person should react by withdrawing attention from the dog, even to the point of leaving the room. Your dog should only receive attention when he remains calm – this will teach him that jumping up on people does not get him the reaction he wants.