Many dogs simply have to greet you with their feet on you. Imagine being so exciting to another animal that they just have to touch you while sporadically spinning around (tail whipping everything off the coffee table again!), barking and maybe even mouthing you in unrestrained joy! As lovely as the sentiment is, generally it’s not very welcome. Especially with visitors to the house or strangers in the park.
To teach a dog to not jump, we need to not put them in a position to be able to do so in the first place.
For this you will need a barrier (options, 2nd handler with a lead and harness/stair gate/fencing), tasty treats in a treat pouch. Optional clicker.
With the dog behind the barrier in your house, approach from a distance of no more than 5 metres and immediately (while walking) throw treats between your dogs front paws. Back off while they eat it and then repeat x5. Maybe x 10 if they are really keen.
You will see that they start to look expectant of the treats, so take an extra step before throwing them. Ideally, they will not be up on their back legs when you throw the treat.
Gradually reduce the distance before delivering the treats until you are right next to them. It is at this position that you can mark the behaviour with a clicker (clicker tips here) or verbally before rewarding. At this stage, you now want the lead handler to be delivering the treats as we do not want your dog to expect treats from all strangers (as this will cause frustration). Approach, make it next to them and have the person holding the lead mark and reward.
When that is good, try in a new location – different room in the house. Then the back garden. Then the front garden. The next step is to walk towards the person instead of having them walk towards you. On a loose lead (tips here) walk towards them and drop treats in front of your dogs nose before they show too much interest in the person. Have the person back up a few metres while the dog eats so that you can approach them again. If the dog simply can’t cope walking towards them, offset the person to the side 5 metres or so, so that you are not aiming directly towards them. Gradually reduce this distance.
With repetition, your dog will start to look at you when they see strangers in expectation of the treats. Mark and reward this! Little extra tip – deliver the treats to the floor – this will make your dog focus with their nose down, instead of up towards the legs/shoulders of the stranger.
If you would like further help with this you can book a 1 2 1 session with us.