Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Key to Success: Always provide energy draining exercise before teaching a puppy not to jump on you. You will get better results with a tired puppy rather than one that is fresh and ready to play.
Is it any wonder why when you come home from an extended away time (work, school, etc.) that your puppy greets you so enthusiastically which includes jumping and barking and whining? They have pent up energy and are so excited to be able to release it with their best friend, you! The best thing you can do for your buddy is take him out and let him play an exciting game of fetch! You know the kind that he is begging you to stop throwing the ball by laying at your feet with his tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth and heavy panting. Yeah...that is when you know your ready to start a training session. Of course he will need some water and a short period to cool off. He needs it and you need him to be tired and in a calm state of mind before you can start any type of serious training.
The first and by far the best training command to have your dog learn is sit. Followed by down and stay. These are the commands that are essential in keeping your puppy's four feet on the ground. Every time your puppy keeps all four feet on the ground in a sit or down position reward that behavior. When you have mastered these commands, use them as tools for when he jumps up on you.
Do not encourage enthusiastic door greeting. When you come home and your puppy jumps up to greet you, ignore him. Make sure that he knows he is being shunned by turning away from him. If you need to be more force full lift you knee as he is jumping. DO NOT SPEAK to him. Do not interact with him until he is sitting calmly. Then give him a calm greeting. This will be hard in the beginning but not impossible. Your puppy wants nothing more than your undivided attention and you need to teach him the best way to get your attention and your interaction is to sit and be calm. Don’t give up on this training. The most practical time to use it is when you come home and the greeting is overboard. The moment your puppy sits and keeps all four paws on the ground should be rewarded. If he gets excited for the verbal praise, turn away from him. Tell him to sit again and repeat the process until you can verbally praise him with all four feet on the ground.
Social puppies LOVE to meet strangers. So it is important that your guests get the same respect that you are teaching your puppy to give you. What better way to help control the jumping than using a leash? A harness is the best option for body control so also utilize a harness for this “no jumping on strangers” lesson. You will need a friend and you will need to let your friend know that when they come to your house, they will be greeted by an enthusiastic puppy that likes to jump. Ask them to help you by ignoring him (no touch, no talk, no eye contact). You should be able to greet your guest and they you but no one interacts in a friendly manner with your puppy until your puppy is calm. Make sure you have high reward treats and that when the doorbell rings that you have the leash and harness already on your puppy. Go with your puppy to the door. Set him up for success by putting him in the sit or down command. Open the door and anticipate. If your puppy makes a move to jump up, use the leash to pull him back. This “pull back” should be a quick jerk motion to the side and pressure should be released quickly. (think of pumping the brakes of a car slipping on ice, if you slam on the breaks it will lock up. Same with a puppy. If you pull continually his mind will lock up). Once you get his attention, put him in the sit position. Once the puppy seems reasonably calm, ask your friend to reach out and pet your puppy (anticipate again because a jumper will jump at this gesture of friendship) when your puppy goes to jump correct into a sit and reward with a high treat. This technique can be used on walks too. Just remember the harness and the leash helps you gain control and anticipation is a great aid because it allows correction in a timely manner.
Always practice good door greeting manners with your puppy and reward for calm all four feet on the floor and watch your jumper become a sophisticated respectful people greeter! I have attached a video