How to Train your Dogs to overcome over-Exuberant Greetings

You can use the same principle when your pup jumps on you to greet you. I equate this behavior with that of little children clutching at you until you pick them up. Usually they add a lot of vocal urging along with it: “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” might sound familiar. If it works, they’ll keep doing it, long after they’re too heavy for you to pick up easily. At some point, they have to learn that you’re not always going to pick them up—you literally can’t! With a puppy, don’t pay attention to him until he stops asking for it. (This is the first stage of Zen learning—in order to get the reward, your puppy must give up the reward.) Thus, when he’s jumping all over you trying to reach your face, just wait. When he stops jumping, squat to his level and give him the attention he so desperately wants. Later on during adolescence, you won’t squat, but with a puppy, you need to give him reinforcement very quickly. His little brain can’t hold a thought for too long. Besides, you probably want to give him attention.

Here’s a little trick that works with all kinds of behavior problems, but especially jumping up and barking. I call it the “Stupid Mom Routine.” I’ve used it for years with my dogs, but Leslie Nelson, a wonderful trainer, added a couple of steps that I like a lot. First, put a leash on your puppy, and let it drag on the floor. When your pup jumps up on you, rather than reacting with anger or doing the no response bit, asks him cheerfully, “Do you want to go outside?” Pick up his leash and take him to the door. Put him outside, but hold the leash inside when you close the door. Count to five, then let him in and act normally. He will jump up again, at which point you should repeat your question and response—always very cheerfully! Generally, it takes just a few repetitions for the pup to get the idea that you’re misunderstanding his communication, and he’ll stop. Because he’s a puppy, you’ll have to repeat the series quite often with a variety of people before he stops jumping up.

The human element can be a major impediment to your puppy’s learning, especially with regard to jumping up. Many people like the attention from the pup, and they’ll tell you they don’t mind the jumping up. If your pup is going to grow up and stay small, then maybe you don’t care! If, however, he’s going to be a bruiser, harden your heart and tell your friends and family that you’re teaching him manners, and you have to be consistent. Each time he jumps up and gets cuddled and loved, he’s learning that this behavior works, and it’ll be that much harder to teach him to stop.

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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