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Most dogs become very excited when visitors come to the house. Some dogs even become so excited that they will jump up on people. This behavior often begins when a dog is a puppy and owners accidentally encourage it because it seems cute and harmless.

However, once the dog is larger, it can be a nuisance. Jumping up on people can be a hard habit to break, but if you follow the suggestions below, you can teach your dog better behavior.

  • Most dogs start jumping up on people when they are puppies. Puppies are small and enthusiastic. It is not unusual for them to leap up on people to get attention. Or your puppy might have crawled in your lap and you rewarded him by petting him. When your dog is older you may not want him jumping on you or crawling in your lap, but it has already become a habit with him.
  • Most dogs can be excited easily. Some dogs are very energetic and enthusiastic, especially when people arrive. They can quickly learn to associate a ringing doorbell or a knock at the door with the arrival of guests which is an exciting event.
  • Don’t reward jumping behavior. If you want your dog to stop jumping on people, it’s important to stop rewarding him for the behavior. This means that your dog needs to stop getting attention when he jumps up. You, your family members, and your guests need to ignore your dog when he jumps up.
  • Teach your dog basic obedience commands. Teaching your dog basic obedience commands is a good way to stop jumping behavior. You can use the “Sit-Stay” command, for example, to have your dog sit calmly when visitors arrive. It takes practice. You can have a friend or family member practice ringing the doorbell while you give your dog the command.
  • No petting until your dog is calm. When guests visit, tell them not to pet your dog until he is sitting and behaving calmly. This teaches your dog that he is only rewarded for the behavior that you desire.
  • There are consequences for undesirable behavior. You can teach your dog that there are consequences for undesirable behavior by having friends help you with a doorbell exercise. Have each friend ring the bell and come in the house, one by one. If your dog jumps up on someone, they should leave.
  • Be consistent. As with all training, if you really want your dog to learn, you have to be consistent. Don’t reward jumping behavior. Ignore your dog when he jumps up. And teach him better behavior such as the Sit-Stay when the doorbell rings. Praise and reward him when he is calm when visitors enter.
  • Reward your dog for his good behavior. Teach your dog that he will earn praise and rewards for being calm and not by jumping up on people

Lots of dogs inadvertently learn to jump up on people when they are puppies. This can be a hard habit to break but if you are consistent with your training, you can teach your dog that jumping up is undesirable. Replace jumping up with teaching your dog a command such as the Sit-Stay when the doorbell rings or there is a knock on the door. Teach your dog that he will earn praise and rewards for sitting and behaving calmly when guests enter your home.