Why Does My Dog Jump on Strangers?
Dogs jump on strangers for a variety of reasons. If we could ask your dog, he might point to several of these reasons for his behavior:
When your dog was a puppy, it was cute. We all are guilty of letting cute puppies crawl all over us, letting them lick our ears and sit on our chests. This gets less cute when your dog gets bigger, but by then your dog thinks that it’s OK!
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Some strangers don’t mind, making the habit hard to kick. Many well-meaning strangers try to reassure embarrassed dog owners that it’s ok if their dog jumps. These strangers love dogs, after all. But these kind-hearted dog-loving guests make it much harder to teach your dog not to jump by reinforcing bad behavior!
You’ve created an accidental behavior chain. Many people accidentally teach their dog to jump, then sit. The underlying advice (reward your dog if he sits) is good! But implementation is often less than perfect, leading your dog to jump first, then sit (then get a treat). Oops!
Your punishment turned into a game. Reticent to dole out harsh punishments, we often scold our dogs with pushing, pulling, yelling, and squealing. While I certainly don’t advocate harsh punishment, these minor punishments easily turn into games for the dog. I’ve met plenty of rowdy teenage dogs that actually seem to like being kneed in the chest or pushed aside!
You get excited when you see your dog. It’s so easy to squeal and get excited when you see that wagging tail at the end of the day! But your excitement at greeting your dog might actually be part of the reason she’s jumping all over you. Being calm and collected during canine greetings is likely to get you a better result.
Licking faces and ears is what dogs do when they’re excited. Have you ever watched a young dog greet an older one when the young one is excited? Both wolf cubs and dog puppies lick excitedly around the mouth and ears of parents and other family members. This actually helps the parents throw up the hunt — ew — but has become a ritualized greeting behavior as well! Since we’re much taller than our dogs, they jump as they try to lick our faces.
To summarize, your dog jumps because it’s a natural behavior with serious genetic components — and then we make it a hard habit to kick by inadvertently encouraging it.
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How Do I Stop My Dog From Jumping on Strangers?
At whatever point somebody asks me how to prevent their canine from accomplishing something, my prompt reaction is an inquiry: “What might you like your canine to do?”
I pose this inquiry since it encourages us consider something that we can remunerate our canines for doing.
On the off chance that we need to diminish a conduct, we need to rebuff it. I don’t care for utilizing discipline in preparing as a result of the potential dangers included, so all things considered, I like to zero in on differential fortification of an inconsistent conduct.
That is an extravagant method of saying, “Prize something that can’t occur simultaneously as the activity you need to forestall.”
Differential support of a contrary conduct (which we’ll allude to as DRI starting now and into the foreseeable future) is the explanation that endless coaches propose showing your canine to sit! Your canine can’t bounce and sit simultaneously.
Tragically, it’s truly simple to inadvertently make a conduct chain of hop sit (as plot above). How might we stay away from that?
1. Manage the Situation — Implement Jumping Preventive Measures!
You have to stop your dog’s jumping before it starts.
For most over-excited greeters, the excitement that leads to jumping starts when they see a new person. If you let your dog drag you over to “go say hi” to a stranger on the street, you’re already starting out behind because you’re letting your dog’s dragging shape the situation.
Letting your dog’s excitement get the best of him won’t help anyone!
2. Get Help From Strangers (But Not Right Away)
During the early stages of training, it’s best not to let your dog greet unknown strangers at all. You simply can’t rely on strangers to train your dog.
This might be disappointing for strangers if your dog is cute (I’ve been cussed out before when I asked someone not to pet my dog), but it’s necessary.
3. Teach the New Response in a Quiet Place
Decide on what you’d like your dog to do instead of jumping.
I generally recommend using the hand target method, where you’ll teach your dog to tap his nose to your hand on command.
4. Add Consequences
Now that your dog is a hand-target pro (or is getting the hang of the stand-and-wiggle option), you can start practicing when you come home every day.
Head off the problem of accidental behavior changes by introducing a bit of negative punishment.
This is the type of punishment where you take something away (hence the negative sign) to punish a behavior.
When a dog jumps up, she wants attention. If your dog jumps up, take a step away, turn your back, or exit the room briefly. You don’t need to say no or otherwise correct your dog. Just quietly, calmly, and swiftly remove your presence from the dog.
5. Take Your Jump-Free Act on the Road
Once your dog is reliably greeting you with four paws on the floor at home, it’s time to up the ante. Only now is it time to take your practice on the road.
You can start letting your dog greet strangers only after your dog is polite with you, your family, your friends, your trainer, and other controlled people.
Give people instructions ahead of time (by calling out from 10+ feet away) and avoid kids, drunk people, and other groups that are unlikely to comply with your requests.
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