Thanks for getting in touch! Dogs are super social animals and love to interact with people, so it’s in their nature to jump up and ask for attention from humans. However, this can be quite annoying, particularly if your guests are young, elderly, or afraid of dogs!
Teaching your dog to lose a behaviour that they’ve already learned can take some time. But with patience and consistency, you can get your dog to do anything!
Firstly, tell your friends and family that you’re working on training your dog not to jump. They’ll need to be cooperative during the training process.
Before a guest enters your home, tell your dog to sit and stay. You might want to put them on a lead before you start.
When the guest enters your home, if your dog starts to pull and leap up, tell your guest to turn around and exit. Ask your dog to sit and stay again. Repeat this until your dog stays calm as your guest enters. Reward this good behaviour! Then continue.
Let your guest approach – if your dog jumps up, tell your guest to leave, and tell your dog to sit and stay again. This could take several days, but remember to reward each successful step and to go at your dog’s pace.
With repetition, your dog should learn that they only get attention (and even a reward) when all four paws are on the ground.
Remember, being calm will encourage your dog to stay calm as well. A chaotic training process with raised voices and lots of movement will hinder learning!
If you can, try not to encourage your dog to be excitable in any other situation. You might enjoy having your dog greet you excitedly when you come home, but if you don’t want them jumping up on guests, it’s best not to let them jump up on you either. When you come home, ignore them until they are calm – then reward them with lots of attention!
Hope this helps. Best of luck!
Justine Seraphin, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare