A dog jumping up at a visitor is the worst possible introduction anybody can have to your home and your dog. Indeed, for those who do not even like dogs, it could be the end of a beautiful friendship and visits from them!
Somebody wrote to me: “I have been doing the off command as a dog trainer told me since he was small and kneed him in the chest, all to no avail. I have put him on his leash with a choke collar and he is still tugging away. I use the sit command and eventually he calms down enough but that initial greeting is a horror story every time. It has become very frustrating and obviously not pleasant for others. I’ll just keep trying”
My reply was give it up, it will not work. The knee in the chest is outdated. It is bad advice to tell any owner to knee his dog.
The sound of the doorbell or knocking on the door can be a trigger for excitement. It heralds the arrival of another potential member of the pack. The dog must jump to show he is the host. So remove excitable triggers. The front door bell rings but before opening the door I put away the dog. I am the host, not the dog, this raises my status and reduces that of the dog.
I bring my guests in. To me my dogs are not big, to me my dogs do not smell. To others they are big and they smell. What is acceptable to me is not always acceptable to my friends.
Put the dog away somewhere so that he cannot demonstrate dominance by going to the front door. Keep him there for around 10 minutes until his initial excitement has dwindled. Then allow him in with a bone or Kong filled with a tit-bit to keep him occupied for a while. Peace!
You can help matters by removing the triggers for excitability when you enter your own home. Try walking in without looking, touching or talking to the dog for five minutes. Then talk and love you dog.
Dogs jump up at other times because the act is rewarding by attracting attention. If it were not rewarding the dog would not do it. It is as simple as that.
So when a dog jumps up, do not be aggressive and knee it in the chest, simply hold it up by its front paws and calmly tell the dog you love it. The dog has jumped up, so you react by holding him up. Do not let it down, keep it up as long as you can.
By keeping the dog up, I mean stretching it up and up and keeping walking. The dog will then start to mouth your hands. When that happens, and only then, drop it down. Do not place the dog down, drop it on the floor.
When it is on all four legs, love him to bits, cuddle and talk. Then encourage the dog to jump again. As soon as it does so grab the paws and repeat the whole exercise.
It is important to get the timing right and that the whole family learns to do this. Your dog will quickly learn that to jump up will make you react and your reaction is not very rewarding. It’s easy, simple and kind..
Another answer is to explain the problem to a dog-loving friend. They could also give the dog a lesson when they enter the house by holding up the front paws when it jumps up.
Alternatively answer the door with a spray bottle filled with water and squirt the dog in the face when it jumps up at the visitor. The surprise may teach it a lesson. This may not work at first with every dog but it can be repeated by keeping the spray bottle near the door.
Case story. A friend took my advice by having a spray bottle handy. Problem was the dog jumped up, knocked my friend’s hand and he squirted water over the visitor’s face. I know this is true for I was the visitor.