Jumping Up

Bounce, bounce, bounce!

Jack in the box puppies

Jumping up is a very common occurrence for dog owners and with puppies you have an extra battle on your hands- other people. Unfortunately, when you have a cute pup, people just want to fuss them, this is nice, and it is great for puppies to socialise with lots of new people, but often leads quickly to over excitement and jumping. Cue you to hastily apologise only to be told ‘It’s ok, I don’t mind’ while they continue to stroke your puppy who is bouncing away happily on two legs. This of course reinforces the pup to do the same with the next person they meet, but the next person might not be so friendly, or be a child or elderly person who is easily knocked over. No matter how much you love dogs you don’t want muddy paw prints on your interview outfit or to watch someone you love being toppled and hurt.


So, we need a strategy to deal with this. First, let’s talk about why pups jump up. Face licking is a natural friendly greeting, an appeasement signal that lets everyone know they are friendly. Puppies will greet familiar dogs, and their parents this way and in wild dogs this leads to the adult regurgitating a meal for the puppy. Our faces are very much higher, and so to achieve this natural behaviour our pups try to jump to lick our face.

Perfectly Polite Greetings

So we have to teach our puppies first how to greet people in a polite way that won’t lead to upset. We can practice this at home with our family, before expecting our puppy to be polite with everyone they meet.

You will need a helper, someone the dog likes. A leash. Some treats (optional, getting to greet the person they like is the reward)

Step One

With your puppy on the leash ask for a sit. When the pup sits your helper can start approaching, if your puppy gets up from the sit the helper should turn and walk away. Cue your pup to sit again and when they do the helper can once again start their approach. You will need to practice this a few times until you pup has an ‘aha’ moment and realised it’s the bottom on the floor that is making their friend come closer.

Step Two

Try waiting it out to see if they sit spontaneously for the reward of their friend approaching. For the puppy the consequence of sitting rewards them by their friend come closer, getting up causes them to go away. This is a nice clear communication of cause and effect. After a few times they should stay seated long enough for your helper to get very close, now you can release them from the sit position for a nice greeting. Your helper should keep the greeting fairly quiet and not to exciting, if your puppy starts to bounce or get over excited that is your helper's cue to retreat again, and you should ask puppy to sit again.

Step Three

When your pup can handle a polite greeting easily, up the criteria and have your helper ring your doorbell and come in the front door. Get as many helpers on board as you can, as long as they have a clear understanding of the rules.

Step Four

When your puppy is good at your doorway make the next step greetings in the garden, followed by practice in the park.

Step Five

When it comes to having real guests over, you will have to manage the situation with baby gates, a crate or by having your dog on leash til the excitement dies down, then bring them out to meet everyone in a calm and controlled way. The more practice your puppy gets the easier it will become.