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How To Stop Your Dog Jumping Up On You, And Your Visitors

Updated on June 14, 2012
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When Rachael isn't in her studio dyeing yarn (her real job), she's called to her passion for writing, and so here she is : )

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Stop The Chaos!!

There's nothing more heart warming than seeing how happy our dogs are, to see us home.

Their tails are wagging, their all excited and they just want to let us know how happy they are.

If your dog is like many others, it doesn't just wag it's tail in excitement, it jumps up, barks and yelps with absolute sheer joy at your presence!

It might seem loving, but it's actually a problem.

Not only is it un-natural for your dog to be this excited, in these circumstances, it is also your dog asserting itself as top dog, which is not what you want.

Calm Submissive

The problem is, when you encourage this behaviour, when you respond to your dogs excitement with your own excitement and pleasure at all this chaos, you are reinforcing what your dog is doing.

You are essentially saying "When I get home, when we haven't seen each other for a while, I love it when you jump all over me and yelp and bark and I will reward you with cuddles and praise".

Even if you are doing the opposite, and telling your dog to 'get down' or to 'sit', your interaction is still perceived as encouragement because dogs don't always hear our commands as they are intended when they are in a state of excitement. They are yelping and barking, and so are you, in their world.

So, what's the right way to handle this situation?

  • When you come in the door, if your dog is unrestrained or roaming free, you must completely ignore your dog.
  • Do not speak to them. Do not look at them. Do not touch them.
  • If your dog jumps up on you, turn your back on them and do not say a thing.
  • Keep turning away if they try to come around to the front of you
  • Do this until your dog stops jumping and either walks away, or sits down.
  • Give it a good few seconds before you respond to any quiet behaviour.
  • Then, turn around and reiterate the 'sit' command.
  • Only once they have sat, and are quiet and calm you can stroke them and praise them. Be sure that you are only rewarding the behaviour you want, not reprimanding the behaviour your don't want.
  • If they immediately respond to your touch with more excitement, repeat the same process until they are calm again.

NB: It is important to have this training down before having smaller children involved. If your dog jumps up, they could be knocked to the ground and possibly hurt.

Keys To Success

The absolute key to success with this technique is to not give up when it doesn't work the first dozen times.

Your dog may have be conditioned to respond in their excitable way for quite a long time and you will need to be patient in the reprogramming of their behaviour.
The other key to success is to make sure that you ask any visitors, family and friends to do the same. They must completely ignore the dog and not pay it any attention when they walk in, no matter how cute they think your dog is.

One way to handle this, without having to ask, is to put a sign at the front door saying "Please ignore the dog, he/she is in training" and then explain to your visitors what you are doing when they have come inside. Once they know what you are doing, they will know what to do each time they come to see you.

Introducing Your Dog To Visitors

If you have a dog that now understand how to behave when you arrive home, but is less calm with new people or visitors coming into the house, a good way to make sure they understand what is required is to have them restrained when guests arrive.

  • Put the dog on their lead, or in it's crate, before your guests are due.
  • Have your dog sit down and praise him/her once they are in a calm, relaxed state.
  • When your guests arrive, again, have them completely ignore your dog. No eye contact, no words, no touch.
  • Your dog may still get excitable but with regular, and constant reiteration that they will not be unleased or let our until they are calm, they will eventually learn.
  • Once your dog is calm and relaxed, they may be allowed to meet the guests.
  • Your guests should still initiate no attention until your dog has had the chance to sniff and how that he/she is relaxed.
  • When they sit, and are obviously calm and relaxed, then your guests may interact with them.

What If This Doesn't Work?

Sometimes, training your dog can be difficult. But rather than give up, persevere and seek support. Find out if you have a dog trainer in your local area and enlist their help to get on top of this issue. The worst thing you can do, is go backwards and have your dog become more confused about what is required of them. Consistency is key but if you feel like what you are doing isn't working, get help so you can master it.

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