Jumping for joy! It seems very natural. It’s an expression of delight, a welcoming gesture, an invitation, an offer of friendship. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted with such enthusiasm?

Let me guess: Your visitor who is wearing a flouncy chiffon dress? Your neighbor,  riding the elevator with you and your dog who is on his way to a job interview and would not exactly appreciate dog slobber on his elegant Prada suit?

It is a huge dilemma since we also all encounter the : “Oh, I don’t mind! I love dogs !”crowd who then actively invite your dog to engage in jumping up.

The dog is getting mixed signals and if there is one thing that confuses dogs, it’s inconsistency.

Is it punitive to suppress the dogs’ need to jump and get nearer to peoples’ faces?

Well, in a way it is, of course. But it can be modified to suit both human and dog, depending on the situation.

Kay Laurence the British dog expert for instance, designed a satisfying greeting ritual for one of her dogs in which the dog is invited to hop on a chair and then is allowed to gently air kiss her when she comes home from an outing. her other dogs seem to prefer to rush out into the yard first to burn off some of that joy as part of their official welcome home ceremony.

I feel that redirecting a dog’s innate need to jump is not that severe of a punishment, if the modified greeting behavior is highly, highly rewarded. If one feels that asking a dog to sit to greet is too constricting and forces the dog to suppress a natural urge to express joy, the dog can still learn that NOT JUMPING gets maximum attention.

In any case; it will significantly lower the chances that you will have to pay for someone’s ripped pants and it gives you more chances to be proud of your dog!

When in public I have turned the greeting ritual into a game for my dog. The cue is: “Would you like to say hi?” and a paw is offered to the stranger. It has contributed to a lot of smiles and “made my day!” comments. I think my dog enjoys that feeling of admiration.


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