Jumping Up to Greet: Teaching an Alternative

This is an exercise to teach the puppy to sit when he meets a person instead of jumping up on them.

Jumping up on all the people that the dog meets over the course of his life will become an extremely annoying habit. It can be a dangerous habit if the dog were to jump on a small child or an elderly or frail individual. It can be embarrassing if the dog rips the clothing of someone else or soils someone’s clothes with dirty dog paws. It is also embarrassing that anyone who enters your home as a guest is likely to be assaulted by a jumping dog.

If a dog is sitting, he is not jumping up.

It can be downright maddening if you are the one who bears the brunt of uncontrollable jumping. An out-of-control, happy, jumping dog can cause harm — tripping you, or knocking you over.

You should do this exercise on the street as the puppy meets people. This will be easy as most people are naturally drawn to a cute little puppy, they will make a beeline to your pup asking if they can pet him. This is a perfect training opportunity for more than one reason! You are socializing the puppy, and you have the opportunity to teach the dog how to greet people.

Teach your puppy to sit as guests come into your home.

At any local business that you may take the puppy, teach the puppy to sit. Use the sit cue in any situation where the puppy will be meeting someone or where he may be tempted to jump up to investigate or say hello, teach that pup an alternative: ask the pup to sit. If a dog is sitting, he is not jumping up.

Begin straight away and continue on until it is an automatic response on the puppy’s part. With thorough and consistent training, you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly this becomes habit for your puppy.

Whoever has control over the puppy as he meets new people is responsible for this exercise.


Meet, Greet, and Treat

Ultimately you want your dog to sit in a situation where he would ordinarily jump up.
If you are consistent, your puppy will quickly learn that it pays to sit. They will learn the cues (body posture and verbal instruction) to know when it is okay to proceed in their doggy way to say hello. See tips below.


Be sure that you always have treats on you.
As a person approaches, or when you approach a person, put the treat against the pup’s nose and lure him into a sit as you say “sit.”


Once the puppy is sitting, give him a taste of the treat.
It is up to you to ensure that once he sits, he holds the sit. If need be, keep those treats coming so he stays sitting. (See Extending the Sit in Junior Obedience).


When he is holding the sit nicely, by all means have the person who he is meeting offer him a treat as well.

TIP: Food for Thought

How many times have you met a cute little puppy on the street and kneeled down to pet it? What does the pup automatically do? He jumps up. And what do we do? Even if the person that belongs with that pup is attempting to get the puppy off of us we say “Oh no that’s okay, he is so cute.” (Pet, pet, cuddle, cuddle.)

What just happened here? The pup is being rewarded for a behavior that after he hits six or seven months old, will be considered far less desirable. And then all of a sudden, the people who were all for the jumping, even rewarding it by praising the dog, turn on the poor pooch. He certainly has no concept that jumping is not cute and adorable anymore. It is very confusing and we are all guilty of doing this. It is our responsibility to teach this puppy early in his life the behavior that we want from him. Think prevention versus cure.

TIP: More Food for Thought

While you are working to teach your puppy to sit when he greets people, you will certainly encounter people who will not necessarily support the work that you are doing. They will insist that it is okay for your dog to jump on them and they may attempt to undermine work that you are doing at that moment. Be patient and consistent. Explain what it is you are teaching the puppy and that it is important to you.

When you introduce the pup to people, it helps if the person is standing upright for the initial greeting. It will be easier to smoothly and quickly get the pup into a sit this way. Once the puppy is sitting and you have given him a treat, have the other person bend down and treat the pup. If they want to cuddle and pet the pup, have them get down low to the ground. This will serve as the cue to your puppy that it is acceptable to get closer, jump around, get petted, and say hello.