Help My Dog Jumps on Me When I Come Home

Nov 8, 2018

Dog Training Wappingers Falls: It is pretty understandable that your dog is excited to see you when you return home after being gone for a while. Our furry friends are highly social animals and they like to be around us. Your return will spark happiness and excitement. Unless they have been taught a different way to greet you, they will want to get up close and personal with you. This involves a lot of jumping to reach up to where your face is.

As with any of our dog’s behaviors that we want to change we first need to prevent the behavior from occurring. Next we need to train a behavior that you feel is a more appropriate way to greet you. It will be best if this behavior is incompatible with jumping. In addition, you need to make sure that you are not inadvertently reinforcing the jumping behavior.

What are some possible ways that you could be reinforcing Jumping?
Think about how consistent you are in regards to jumping behavior. Do you sometimes allow jumping and pet your dog when his feet are up on you? Do you sometimes allow your dog to put her feet on you for petting while you are relaxing in your chair? Is everyone in the family consistent about your dog’s jumping behavior?

Alright, now that everyone in the family is on the same page – jumping is no longer to be reinforced and consistency is the name of the game – how do we prevent the behavior of jumping on you when you come home?

  • Make your return less exciting. Avoid revving up your dog with excited greetings.
  • Create an airlock around the door with a baby gate or exercise pen. This way you can get in the door without your dog mugging you.

Now that you can get through the door without being jumped on you can work on training. Start training your desired incompatible behavior before you put it into practice with a homecoming. Many people will choose the behavior “sit” as an incompatible behavior for jumping while greeting. This may be too difficult for some dogs who are just too excited to keep their butt on the ground while you come through the door. An easier, but just as effective behavior is “four on the floor”; meaning that all four of your dog’s feet must be on the floor.

Start training away from the door. Walk up to your dog and reinforce her with a treat for having four feet on the floor.

Important Tip:
Keep your treats out of your hand. In your pocket or treat pouch or on a nearby table are good alternatives. A treat in your hand where your dog can see it is a bribe. A treat that is not in the picture until the desired behavior happens is a reinforcement or reward.

When your dog is able to keep four on the floor when you walk up to her, move your position to the door but remain inside. Call your dog to you and reinforce her for four on the floor. When your dog is good at this step, practice with the door open (be sure your dog cannot escape).

Your next step is to position yourself outside and step back in through the open door. Reinforce for four on the floor. Now you see where we are going with this: the next step is to be outside with the door closed. Open the door and immediately reinforce your dog for four on the floor. Increase the time you spend outside before opening the door.

Trouble shooting:

  • If your dog jumps on you as you come through the door, turn around and leave.
  • Instead of handing your dog the treat you are using to reinforce him with, toss it on the floor. This further reinforces four on the floor as he cannot jump on you when he is sniffing the floor for his treat.
  • If you have more than one dog, train one dog at a time. Once they are both good independently you can work on training them together.
  • It can take many repetitions for a dog to learn a behavior. The strength of the reinforcement can have an effect on the amount of time it takes. If you are using something your dog does not care about to reward her, training is going to take longer.
  • If your dog is not making progress think about your training plan. Are you making the lesson more difficult than your dog is ready for? Back up a step and make things easier for your dog.

Remember training should be fun for both you and your dog. Any behavior you train with your dog is teaching your dog a trick. Sit, four on the floor and high five are all just different tricks to your dog.

Dog Training Wappingers Falls: First Friend Canine Consulting

First Friend Canine Consulting is always available to help with your dog’s behaviors that you find frustrating. If you are in Wappingers Falls, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, Carmel, Beacon, Fishkill or Newburgh areas contact First Friend for your dog training needs.