Ask the AKC Animal Behaviorist - Help! The Dog Is Jumping on Guests

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Poodle jumping picture
"Brace yourself, I'm ready to say hello!"
Thruhike98, Flickr

Meet Mary Burch, American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Director and Paw Nation's expert columnist addressing your questions on animal behavior. Dr. Burch has over 25 years of experience working with dogs, and she is one of fewer than 50 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists based in the United States. She is the author of 10 books, including the new official book on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, "Citizen Canine: 10 Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know."


This question is about my "granddog," who is a male standard poodle. I adore him and the feeling is mutual. However, to show his affection, he jumps up to greet me, and his 80 pounds makes for a lot of greeting! He often makes me almost lose balance completely, and his paws mark my arms. What can we do without being cruel to curb this behavior?

It does sound like you have a rambunctious pooch on your hands. The reason your grandpup is jumping is because he's eager to see you and meet visitors, and he has been allowed to do this in the past. The great news is that poodles are fast learners, so with some training sessions at home, your granddog should master good manners soon.

I would suggest a training approach that has two main components:

1. Don't Reward the Jumping
The poodle's reward has been having contact and attention from the person on whom he is jumping. Don't give him this pleasure. If he jumps up, simply turn your body away before he can get his paws on you. Walk away if he persists. Don't talk to him and don't look at him. When he is calm, praise and talk to him using a quiet voice. You are teaching him that jumping won't get him the attention he craves.

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