Polite Greetings (without jumping): Rather than telling your puppy “no” or “stop” when it jumps up on you or others, teach him what you would like him to do. If a puppy learns it will receive attention by sitting, it will sit a lot. If your puppy jumps up and receives attention, whether it’s good or bad, it will learn that jumping works too. For good manners, your puppy should sit to earns treats, its food bowl, toys and access through doors. Now we will add greeting people to that list. Your puppy should be offering lots of sits now to earn the good things in life.
Reality Check: If your dog jumps every time he meets a new person, he is learning the wrong behavior. Preventing your dog from practicing jumping is the first step to breaking the habit. When you are out with your dog, teach him to ignore people and pay attention to you. No greetings. Just sit quietly next to me and that’s it. After many instances of not greeting people, starting over with the training options below is a lot easier.
At home: Preventing jumping at home is easy. Never, ever, ever provide a reward (looking, talking, touching or food) if you puppy’s front feet are off the floor. If your puppy if sitting, go ahead and shower him with attention.
Meeting people (leashed): If your dog is on a leash, you can prevent jumping by being prepared. As you approach a person to say hello, ask your pup to sit. If he doesn’t sit, he isn’t ready to say hello. If he sits, go about your business, but keep a close eye on your puppy. If he rises from the sit, simply pull him gently out of reach of the person and repeat the process. The goal is for your puppy to learn to automatically sit when he approaches people. For best results, set up lots of meet and greets over a few days time to practice this until the pup is perfect.
For really excited puppies: If your puppy is overly excited upon greeting, he may need you to provide extra help. Have your puppy sit a few feet from a person and hold a delicious treat in your fingers allowing your puppy to lick it but not eat it. When you have him focused on the food, ask the person to approach slowly and pet your puppy. After several repetitions, offer the treat after the pet and then remove it altogether as your puppy learns how to greet politely.
When people enter your home: Be prepared! If you are not, your puppy may fail and jump on your guests and receive their attention and spoil all your hard work. One option is to use the on leash method above and unleash your dog after he greets politely. A second option for cooperative guests and the easiest way to prevent jumping up and teach your puppy to love house guests, is to have your guests enter the house with treats in hand. As they enter, they should bring their hand down to the dog’s nose level (like the come here and touch my hand signal). Your puppy will know what to do! When he touches the hand, he gets a treat. Then have your guest ask your puppy to sit and deliver a few treats slowly to the pup while he is seated. Then simply invite them in and ignore the puppy until he is calm. People usually love to help. Try hanging a basket outside the door with directions and treats. Invite people to meet your puppy and have a fun training session with your friends!