I’m sure you’ve often been told to ignore your dog when he jumps on you. While this is true, the information is incomplete because by the time you ignore jumping, the first jump will have occurred already! So what should you do?
Anticipate that first jump by bending over your dog and greeting him the second you walk in the front door, before he jumps, of course.
Immediately after, toss a food treat on the floor away from you (yes, please do carry food treats to toss at your dog before he jumps). This will serve a double purpose, which is to reward him for not jumping and to build distance between you and him. Your dog is likely to be so excited to see you that he might not even notice you have a treat for him. So I suggest you show him the treat first and then toss it.
Once your dog has eaten the food treat and runs back to you at full speed, anticipate the second jump by bending over him and patting him again. Remember he’s excited enough so no need for you to greet him in an as excited manner. Again, toss a food treat away from you.
As you go through this routine, your dog is likely to be calmer every time he comes back to you. Ideally you should also teach him to stay, so that you can give him the “stay” cue before he jumps.
Teach him the “stay” cue when he’s calm, so that he can more readily respond to it later on when he’s excited. If you begin teaching him to stay while he’s excited and jumping at you, he won’t even listen, never mind respond.
Once your dog is really savvy at staying put instead of jumping, you can say the “stay” cue immediately upon entering the house and before he jumps. But until then, do a few repetitions of anticipating the jump and tossing a food treat away from you before asking him to stay.
At what point should you ignore the jumping? If it happens despite your training efforts. My take home message to you is to focus on and work towards avoiding the first jump.
– Alexandra Santos –