Cheryl Falkenburry

Pet Lady Question/Answer

September 14, 2005



Q:  Every time someone comes to my house, my Golden Retriever jumps all over them.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much we yell at him to stop, he just keeps doing it.  I don’t want to lock him up every time someone comes over. He’s very friendly--just too friendly! How do I stop my jumping Jack?


A:  Dogs are pack animals and get very excited in groups or when new people come to visit.  They are anxious to greet company and jump to get some face time.  Most people start to yell at the dog and push with their hands for the dog to get down.  This only encourages the dog to jump more.  It’s actually an invitation to play to start pushing your hands at dogs.  Think about how dogs start to play with each other—they start to paw at the other dog.   Well, that’s what humans are doing when they push with their hands.  The dog just thinks you want to play; plus in their minds, you are “barking” and carrying on so you must be excited to see them too!  Since body language speaks so loudly to dogs, ask your visitors to turn their back on the dog.  Have them make no eye contact and step away to avoid paw contact.  When the dog stops jumping, ask them to turn and praise your dog for having four paws on the floor.  Better yet, have them ask for a sit before saying hello.  Any time the dog starts to jump, they should turn around again.  If your dog is really big, you may need to do this with the dog on a leash so he doesn’t knock them over while he practices his new skills.  Soon your dog will learn that the only way to get attention from visitors is to keep four-on-the-floor.  With lots of repetition and patience from your visitors, your dog will soon be saying hello in much more appropriate ways.


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