Raise your hands if you have been toppled over by your dog jumping on you, or if you have pulled your dog back form jumping on a visitor or have had him lunging to jump on the leash. You are not alone in this! Jumping is a common and natural canine behaviour and it is important to understand why dogs do this. If we know the cause, then correcting it becomes far simpler.
So why do dogs jump?
It starts from a really young age where puppies jump up to reach their mothers snouts to lick and smell what food has been brought and to also greet their mothers as a sign of respect and to seek her attention. Once they enter our homes, the dogs may jump as a form of making eye contact to greet and seek attention too. Furthermore, dogs may also jump up when something exciting is in a human's hands (maybe bags, purses, babies, even!). As puppies, our hearts would have probably melted everytime they made those big eyes and jumped on us, but a jumping adult dog is plain annoying and sometimes dangerous.
So how does one go about solving this habit?
Remember, they do this because they want our attention, so the first thing we generally say is to not give them what they want - which is our attention. Whenever our dogs jump on us, one thing to try is to turn and walk away without any interactions with the dog. When the one thing they want, which is your attention goes away, they will run around and come towards you. Reward them with your attention when all 4 paws are on the ground
Another option is to walk into the dog while they are jumping. Remember that pushing them down, yelling at them or lifting a knee even does not help. Dogs perceive this as attention giving, so the behaviour may stop temporarily, but it comes surging back (literally!) because any recognition of your dog's actions works as an immediate reward for the dog and will only increase their jumping.
Remember to never make eye contact, speak, or push your dog. Yelling certainly won't get you anywhere either. Remember to reward the dog only when all 4 paws are on the ground and when he is slightly calmer than his excited jumpy self! Our dogs are really smart and these consistent attempts delivered with calmness and confidence will drive the message home to the dogs.