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How to Teach Your Dog Not to Jump

Puppies and dogs naturally jump up on people when they say hello. Why? Because we're taller than they are! When dogs meet, they sniff each other's faces. They like to do the same thing when greeting us, so it's perfectly natural for dogs to jump up on us to try to reach our faces and get our attention.

What to Do About the Problem

The key to teaching your dog not to jump on you when she greets you is to tell her that you only greet dogs who keep their front paws on the floor. Although you can't tell her with words, you can tell her with actions. When your dog greets you, her goal is to get your attention and to get you to pet her. Knowing this, you can show your dog what she must do to earn your attention and touch. Try to remember two things each time you greet your dog:

  1. Keep your attention and your hands away from your dog unless her front feet are on the floor.
  2. Immediately give your dog attention and petting the instant her front feet land on the floor.

For instance, when you enter a door and your dog jumps up on you, ignore her. Don't tell her to get off you and don't push her away. Instead, stand up straight and look over her head. If you move your arms and hands at all, pull them up toward your chest. If she continues jumping all over you, turn away. She'll have to put her front paws on the floor to follow you. The instant her front paws touch the floor, melt into the wonderful loving owner that you are, and say “Good girl” quietly and pet her head. If she jumps up at your touch, just pull your hand away, stand up straight like before, and ignore her until her feet find the floor once again. The moment her feet touch the floor, pet her. Your attention and your touch are the words that you can use to let your dog how she needs to act to get your attention.

Never withhold attention when your dog's feet finally do touch the floor-even if you're irritated at her for jumping a moment earlier. She has to be able to make the connection that front feet on the floor magically result in attention and affection from people.