This section is where we address behavioral questions that you, our customers, have asked us regarding issues that you've had with your dogs.  The topics have ranged from chewing, biting, housetraining, walking, and barking. We sorted through some of the most common questions and our colleague, Susan Greenbaum from Barking Hills Country Club, has thoughtfully responded.

We hope that these are helpful!

Q: I am trying to get my dog from jumping on people. He gets very excited and loves attention. But the jumping needs to stop. Please help!

A: I think a lot of people are in your situation...

Dogs do like to jump up! Most of the time dogs jump on us to be close to our faces as it is a form of greeting behavior. Unfortunately jumping dogs can tear our clothing, knock over children or older people, scratch or bruise and generally be considered a nuisance.

The good news - it’s easy to fix!

There are several things you can do with any behavior your dog exhibits, and for jumping we’re going to replace the behavior. Instead of jumping your dog is going to learn that calm behavior will be rewarded. Here are eight easy steps to a dog who will greet people politely.


One jumping dog
A six foot leash
A plain buckle or martingale collar
A bowl of treats
A safe place to tie the end of the leash
Some cooperative family and friends

STEP ONE: Put a plain or martingale collar on your dog. This collar should not be a slip or pinch collar. You can use a body harness if it fits your dog securely. Please don’t use a head halter to do this training.
STEP TWO: Attach the six foot leash to a secure, safe place for your dog. This can be anywhere but your dog should be able to see the door. Examples include: attach the leash to a stair rail, door knob or large sofa.
STEP THREE: Place a bowl of treats near the dog but not so close he or she can reach them. You can use your dog’s regular dog food for treats.
STEP FOUR: Lead your dog, gently, over to the leash and attach the collar to the leash.

STEP FIVE: Have one of your cooperative family or friends ring the doorbell or knock. As they come in, have them pick up a treat and approach your dog. If the dog jumps up or barks, have your cooperative family or friend put the treat back in the bowl, and walk away from the dog. It is very important the person turn away immediately if the dog exhibits jumping or barking behavior. We’re trying to make it crystal clear to the dog that jumping or barking makes people leave. Wait about ten seconds and try again.

STEP SIX: After a few errors, the dog will most likely try something new to keep the person coming towards them. Something new like being quiet and keeping all four feet on the ground!

Since the dog is doing exactly what we want the person should continue towards the dog and give a treat. If, at any time, the dog starts to jump or bark the cooperative person needs to immediately turn away from the dog and walk several steps away. They should wait a couple of seconds then turn back and try again. Once your dog is successful have the next family or friend enter and repeat the same pattern.

STEP SEVEN: Add more distractions. Try having two people approach the dog at the same time, or children, or people carrying packages or food. Your dog will make mistakes but those mistakes will help him or her learn to always keep four feet on the ground no matter what the temptation.

STEP EIGHT: Try it on the street. Instead of tying your dog to an object, hold the end of the leash and let the extra fall on the ground. Step on the middle of the leash. This will keep the leash short so your dog can’t jump up very high or get too far away from you. Have your cooperative family and friends approach and give a treat for polite behavior. To help your dog when people leave; say your dog’s name and give a treat when people are finished interacting with him or her. This will help your dog focus on you rather than attempting to follow the person who gave them attention.

Some Things to Remember

When you choose a spot to tie the leash remember your dog is about to develop a new habit. Once training is complete your dog will begin to automatically go to that spot when company arrives, no leash necessary, so you want to be sure the spot isn’t blocking a coat closet or other place you will need to access.

It is crucial the people who initially approach the dog follow the steps listed above. You can throw your dog a party and invite your family and friends who will cooperate. Put the instructions in the invitation and on your front door and invite people at five minute intervals. This will give your dog many chances to get it right. Once family and friends help you train your dog they can party in the living room while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive!

How Long Will it Take?

It depends on the age of your dog; the number of opportunities your dog has to practice with cooperative people and how many times your dog has the chance to practice the incorrect behavior (jumping or barking). With a young dog, who has lots of opportunities to work with cooperative people and few chances to make mistakes, you can expect to see fifty percent improvement in a week. After two weeks of appropriate interactions the dog should be making very few mistakes. In a month you will have created a new habit!

Spending a little time teaching your dog to greet people politely will help make your dog welcome everywhere. A dog who knows how to keep it together when approaching people will be a pleasure to take out in public and will be able to spend more time with you. And what dog doesn’t want to do that? So thanks for sharing your question and let us know how you are doing.

Train your dog – enjoy your dog!

Copyright © Susan D. Greenbaum

Check out some of the other topics that we've addressed:

"Car Travel"
"Rawhide: Friend or Foe?"
"Coming when called"
"Gracie pulls constantly on her leash..."
"My husband and I rescued a pitbull..."
"My dog goes crazy with the doorbell..."