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For retrieving dogs, initiate a game of fetch when guests arrive to distract from the urge to jump while greeting. Use a soft toy that’s unlikely to cause damage or bounce far when thrown; toss the toy in an open area of your house away from breakables, like the hallway. Another option is to toss loose treats on the floor. Doing so will keep your dog’s nose glued to the ground in pursuit of the food, and by extension, off the guest during the most exhilarating initial moments of greeting. After a few minutes of this type of play, the new person has been in the house long enough for your dog’s excitement level to decrease, and jumping up will no longer be an issue.
Some dogs jump because they want to complete a proper greeting by sniffing a person's face. You can allow a dog who is greeting you to get near your face while still discouraging jumping by lowering yourself to the dog's level. Kneel down when saying hi; keep your upper body upright and lean forward from the waist. Avoid bending over the top of the dog, which can be threatening and can put you at risk of a facial injury or chipped tooth if the dog jumps up. Alternatives to kneeling are sitting in a chair or positioning your hand lower to the ground for petting, thus directing the dog’s attention away from your face but still allowing him to say hi by sniffing your hand at nose level.
There are a few other strategies you can try in order to calm your dog and put a stop to jumping. A canine anti-anxiety wrap like the ThunderShirt gently squeezes pressure points in your dog's body that encourage a sense of calm in a noninvasive manner. In many cases, the vest alone may stop the jumping — no training necessary — because it can lower arousal levels quickly.
Exercise also helps. Many dogs don't get the exercise they need, which sets them up for extreme reactions when anything out of the ordinary happens. To combat jumping, increase your dog’s exercise, aiming for twice daily walks that leave him panting, not from the heat, but from the exercise.But be sure to check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s exercise routine.
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