There’s nothing quite like the greeting you get from your dog when you arrive home after a long day. The unconditional love and excitement they show by just your mere presence are some of the things that make dog ownership the best.
But when that enthusiastic greeting towards you—or every guest, the mailman, and paperboy—involves your dog jumping it can feel frustrating. With large dogs, jumping up can also feel scary and intimidating to you or your guests.
Most dogs jump up to greet you out of excitement and because in the dog social world, getting close to your face shows affection and positivity. Luckily, your smart and furry friend can be taught that this is not how humans want to be greeted.
Like with most unwanted dog behaviors, you can stop your large dog from jumping with a few key strategies and consistency in your approach.
To stop dog jumping you should:
Let’s get those paws back on the ground and teach Fido how to greet you lovingly without the jumping. Each of these strategies can be easily achieved if you understand where to start.
Remember that an integrated approach is best when it comes to dog training. To see success quickly, try to incorporate ALL of these strategies into your efforts to stop the dog jumping.
The first step when it comes to teaching your dog to stop jumping is to ignore the behavior as must as possible. Dogs thrive on your social feedback and input. The second you touch your dog or engage with them when they jump up, you are sending a message that the behavior gets them attention (which is exactly what they want!).
It can feel tricky in the beginning, but with practice, you can ignore your dog when they jump up. This strategy works best in conjunction with replacing the behavior discussed below.
Here are a few ways to disengage with your dog when they jump, especially when you arrive home:
When ignoring your dog for jumping up, remember to praise your dog as soon as all four paws are on the ground. Our dogs thrive on social input from us. Their associative memories will quickly realize the excitement and praise comes when they are on the ground.
When you start ignoring your dog’s jumping behavior, it’s important that you provide them with an alternative that will gain your affection. In our house, we love to give our dogs voices and imagine that they’re thinking. In this case, it’s definitely, “Well if I can’t jump than what CAN I do when you get home?”.
Replacing unwanted dog behavior for desired behavior is one of the hallmarks of all dog training. Dogs (unfortunately) can’t read our minds, but they do aim to please!
Two behavior replacements for jumping that seem to work best are giving a sit command or having your dog put something in their mouth.
Teaching your dog to sit (or lay down) when you or a guest enters your home is a surefire way to get them to stop jumping. Of course, this will only be effective if your dog knows how to sit on command and can (ideally) take the command from all different people.
To help your dog succeed with this, get into the habit of keeping treats in your pocket (or right outside your front door). This way as soon as you or a guest enters your home, you can give a sit command and follow up with lots of positive reinforcement.
Additionally, when your dog does engage in the replacement behavior, it can be very helpful to get down on their level and praise them to encourage them to stay on the ground.
Related reading: Choosing Healthy Dog Treats
I don’t know what it is about holding a toy in their mouth that can seriously stop so many unwanted dog behaviors. I used this strategy ALL the time with our black lab when he was a puppy and now he automatically puts something in his mouth in a variety of situations. It can stop mouthing affection, unwanted barking, and yes—even jumping up!
Our dogs are capable of learning so many vocabulary words that they’ve surely started to associate a certain word with their toys. For us, that’s either “go get your toy” or “where’s your ball?”. On that cue, our dog enthusiastically goes to find a toy instead of jumping. Once they come back with the toy, praise them immensely while their paws are on the ground.
In this behavior replacement, you are redirecting the jumping energy towards a task. Many large breed dogs thrive on mental stimulation and having a “job” which makes this replacement behavior highly effective to stop jumping.
While your dog is still learning what to do instead of jumping up to greet your or guests who come to your home, managing the environment can really help. This will make training more effective and create a less intimidating atmosphere upon entry to your home.
Keeping your dog in a crate when you are not home provides many benefits, especially while you are working on behavior training. Crating your dog to help with jumping can be helpful because it gives you a moment to get into the training mindset when you walk in the door.
You are in control of letting your dog out of the crate and can immediately use strategies to help them succeed at staying down by having a treat or toy at the ready.
Allowing your dog to practice greeting guests without jumping is important. It will help your dog realize the desired way to greet a human in all different scenarios. When you know guests are arriving, keeping a leash on your dog can help you maintain control of the situation.
A leash can help remind your dog to listen to a sit command. Having control over your dog in the form of a leash will also put your guests at ease.
Related reading: How to Stop Leash Pulling
Helping your dog understand that jumping up on people is never okay will be most successful when lots of people are delivering the message. You don’t want to set up a scenario where your dog only listens to one household member.
By having the whole family on board with the approach to teaching your dog not to jump up, the message will be received more clearly. If possible, try to have some dog-loving friends or extended family members take part in the training as well. Set your friend up with a treat and tell them to command your dog to sit when they arrive at your home.
The more people giving your dog commands, the better their desired behavior in all kinds of scenarios. It took a lot of time, but let me just tell you how cute it is when our 90-pound German Shepherd will take commands from our 3-year-old daughter.
Using the strategies discussed in this article whenever you arrive home will be effective in teaching your dog to stop jumping up. However, you may want to work more explicitly on the behavior to fast track the process.
Teaching your dog any new behavior when they are full of energy will make the task more difficult. I’m guessing your dog is most jumpy when they’ve been home for an extended period of time alone. Containing all of the energy and learning not to jump will be more challenging in this setting.
Instead, do a training session to stop jumping after your dog has been well exercised. After exercising your dog, act like you are leaving. Spend 5-10 minutes out of the house and then renter the home. In this scenario, jumping dogs will likely still approach you, but you’ll have the upper hand in replacing the behavior because they won’t be so over the top excited that they can’t contain themselves.
Having another person involved can give your dog the chance to practice on a guest arrival when they are well-exercised, too.
With time and consistency, your large dog will stop jumping up every time someone enters the home. Just be sure to ignore the behavior, show them what to do instead, and get everyone on board with the approach.
Have an additional tip that helped your dog stop jumping? Share your story with the Monster K9 community in the comments below!
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