Young dogs often have an exuberant greeting which includes barking, jumping, licking, resulting in a most obnoxious hello. How to stop this behavior? I can tell you that shouting, stepping on toes or kneeing the dog in the chest are not helpful and, in fact, make the problem worse.
Let’s limit this discussion to the greeting you get when you come home from work or shopping. It makes no difference if you’ve been gone five minutes or five hours. First, do not, ever, push the dog away from you. What the dog wants most from you at that moment is attention and any attention will do. Simply saying “off” and turning you back on the dog can be very affective. Additionally, when you turn away from the dog go about the process of hanging up you coat, putting packages down, etc. A two minute gap will give you time to collect your thoughts and get ready to greet your dog. Now, call your dog. Talk to him, pet him, have him sit. If you have had TTouch instruction do a few circles or a nice zigzag on his sides should help calm him down. It may be time to take your pet outside for a potty break or perhaps some play time. This does not have to be an extended amount of time – just a couple of ball tosses is sufficient. Then, go back inside, and resume your normal routine. Note that there is no need for treats. You are the reward. If he continues to jump up simply say “off” and walk away. When there is no payoff, the behavior will change.
What we have demonstrated to the dog is that he will get attention, but on your terms. If your dog is crate trained, release him from the crate when you are prepared to greet him.
This exercise can be practiced several times a day and is easily set up. Just go outside or into another room, returning to greet your dog on your terms. If you aren’t gone but a minute or two chances he will not be as exuberant and will quickly learn that when you leave him and return, you will greet him and he can respond in a more appropriate way. The added benefit is the dog will likely not develop separation anxiety. This is great way to build trust and develop communication skills.
Greeting behaviors for your dog when visitors come to your home are a bit more involved and I’ll cover that later.