Q: My Aussie likes to jump on us when we come home. It usually doesn’t bother us, but he will also jump on guests. I’ve been told to never let him do this because it’s a way for him to show he’s the boss. Is this true? What’s the best way to get him to stop jumping?
A: Despite what some people have been led to believe, dogs don’t jump on people because of a need to be “the boss”. It’s an excited greeting behavior, and while some of us might not mind it so much, it needs to be controlled because it’s not always good doggy manners. Many people push their dogs away while yelling “NO,” but there is an alternative: The best way to get a dog to stop doing something is to get him to do something else. A great alternative to jumping is sitting. Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most valuable things you can do overall, and it’s very helpful in containing overly-enthusiastic greeting behavior. It takes practice, and there will be times when he messes up, but keep at it. Treats and praise reward him for sitting. If he does mess up, don’t yell or scold, just turn away until he’s got his feet on the floor. In time, he can learn to sit until you give a release command. Plus, many Aussies are smart enough to learn when it’s okay to jump and when it’s not, so if you like, you can teach a “jump, sit” combo to show him that he can only jump when you say it’s okay.