Many people struggle with a dog who has the undesirable habit of "jumping up" on people when they are excited. But did you ever wonder WHY your dog so gleefully mauls you with dancing feet after you've returned home from work? Or let's face it, how many out there have a dog who will excitedly jump all over you every time you come through the door -- regardless of whether you were gone for 5 minutes... or 5 hours? Perhaps you have a pooch who embarrasses you every time you have guests over by happily greeting them with dirty paws all over their nice clothes? We will discuss WHY your dog gets motivated to exhibit such nuisance behaviors during social greetings, and also HOW TO HELP curtail this unruly behavior -- humanely and positively! Most dogs I meet with a jumping problem are doing it simply out of excitement and over-stimulatation, which will commonly happen during social interactions. This type of jumping will be playful, yet demanding and invasive: "Hey you! HI! Nice to meet you! Pet me! Ooo, you smell good! Play with me! Do you have any treats? Hey YOU!!!" If the jumping is friendly, the dog's body will be fluid and moving a lot, usually accompanied with a sweeping, friendly tail wag. The dog is typically panting with a big, wide smile on it's face. The ears are often back in appeasement, and the dog may even try to kiss or lick you too. Some dogs will also bark exuberantly at you. If this is the kind of jumping your dog is doing, this is WHY and WHAT TO DO about it! The long and short of why: dogs are happy creatures! When they missed you while you were gone, they use their body language to express this. I know when I am pet-sitting or dog walking some of my clients, their pets exuberantly try to jump on me when I walk in the door, as if to say "I missed you, Ms. Katelyn!" Jumping up is a height-seeking behavior that leads to touch, something that feels good to your dog, and becomes a means to acquiring attention. More often than not, I commonly find this problem behavior to be LEARNED. Dogs learn that jumping up = I get attention! Even if it's negative attention (like yelling "Off!"), the dog still wins by getting you to respond to the unwanted behavior. The typical pitfalls I find on the humans part that lead to the jumping up problem getting worse include: - Inadequate exercise and mental stimulation - Inconsistency in handling the problem behavior - and most importantly, not teaching an effective and humane alternative behavior that is desired instead When I am dog training, I get asked all the time "How do you teach 'OFF'?" I always respond the same way: "I don't. I teach 'sit' instead." The best trick I can reveal to you about extinguishing your dog's jumping habit would be to TEACH IT SOMETHING ELSE, THEN POSITIVELY REINFORCE THAT BEHAVIOR. I teach all sorts of fun commands, such as "sit", "lie down", and "belly rubs" (rolling over for a tummy scratch), and I then implement them during social greetings. When the dog chooses to perform the desired behavior, only then is he allowed to be pet and paid attention to. Magic? I think not, just basic psychology. So, next time you come home from work, perhaps hide a few treats just outside the door. When your dog comes running up to like usual, before he gets the chance, wave the stinky treat in front of his nose and ask him to "sit". Once he does, give him the treat and pet him. If he jumps up again, turn your back to him and ignore him completely. Once he is sitting again, turn around and pet him, telling him what a good boy he is for sitting. Ask, treat, repeat! Keeping comings and goings low key help drastically. If you come in with a high-pitched voice, equally as excited to greet your dog, she is just learning to mimic your energy. The best thing you can do to prevent and treat a jumping problem, is to act non-chalant when you arrive home. The hardest 5 minutes of my day are right when I get home, because I force myself to ignore my dogs until they've settled down. Once they are relaxed and less stimulated, I reinforce THIS energy by calling them to me for lots of loving! Have a dog who jumps all over your visitors at the door? Set your dog up to succeed by exercising her well BEFORE you have guests over. A tired dog is a good dog! Also, teach your dog what behavior you WANT her to do instead, such as training doorbell ringing = go to your bed, or go to your spot. Ring the bell, then toss a cookie on the bed (or lure your dog to the designated greeting spot). Then repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually your dog will associate the doorbell with going to the special spot YOU have chosen! Require your dog to offer a "sit" or "lie down" before receiving any petting or attention from guests. If she jumps, instruct them not to pet her, and ignore her until she sits down. If you have guests that may not be able to handle a jumping dog -- perhaps someone in a walker, or a small child -- keep a leash dragging on yours dog. Then you can gently step on the leash during greetings, and it will prevent your dog from being able to get away with the jumping behavior. As a pet-sitter, a dog walker, and a dog trainer, I understand the importance of consistency in working with these types of problem behaviors. So every time I walk into a home with a dog, I practice good human behaviors to encourage dogs NOT to jump on me. I use a calm voice, and do not get over-excited. I wait until the dog settles down before I offer any rigorous petting. I ask the dog to "sit" first before paying attention to it. You TOO can help be a good human, and practice the same techniques when you meet a dog. Trust me, those owners who are struggling with this behavior in their dogs will THANK YOU!