You’ve probably seen a really excited dog before. They tend to jump on you, your guests, your children, or really anybody that moves. Maybe they slobber on you, try with exaggerated motions to lick your face — or they could even bite if they get too excited. I don’t mean those stories that you hear about where people need stitches. Your pup might just give you a little nip. They might just grab your sleeve because they are so excited! This is a very common topic in the realm of training dogs. Here are a few tips to help you handle a dog that is really excited.
One of the most important things to do when you’re around an excited dog is to stay calm. If you get upset, their level of arousal — and by that, I mean how excited/energetic they are — will increase. It’s just like an argument between two people. The louder and more upset one person is, the more upset the other person will get. Just like people, dogs will feed off of your energy. That’s why it is essential that you keep a level head and level voice!
NO JERKY MOVEMENTS
When a dog charges up to someone, it’s instinct to bring your arms up and step away. However, by moving away from them, you’re actually inviting the dog into your space. If you step into them instead, they may not jump on you. Another big mistake people tend to make is jerking their arms up. This is something that is super common for kids to do. Again, by moving their arms up above their head, they are inviting the dog into their space. The go-to move for most dog trainers to suggest is crossing your arms over your chest instead of jerking back. However, there are also a couple of other ways to handle this situation, especially if you are not overly familiar with the dog.
REDIRECT THEIR ATTENTION
One of the best ways to stop a dog from jumping, biting, or slobbering on you is to redirect their attention. What this means is that you are changing the dog’s attention from jumping at you to something else, like sitting. Ask the dog to do some tricks. They don’t need to be complicated, but you can ask the dog to sit or lie down. Obviously, this is going to work better if there is some sort of reward involved — a.k.a. treats! If you are coming home and your dog decides to charge you as a “welcome back home” gift, instead of petting them or scolding them, tell them to sit. As soon as the dog sits, give them a reward. Head pats and treats are a good one! The more excited a dog is, the more you’ll need to work on this. Yelling “sit” at an overly excited dog probably isn’t going to work the first time. However, if you ask your dog to “sit,” wait for them to sit, and then reward them on a regular basis, your dog will get into the habit of doing their job.
This is also something that is very effective on overly-excited dogs. When a dog charges at you and jumps a different method from redirecting attention is to ignore them. Don’t say anything, don’t make eye contact, and don’t turn away from them. Wait for them to be done jumping and slobbering. As soon as all four of their paws are on the floor, then you can greet them. In this situation, the reward for the dog behaving is getting attention. Just like redirecting their attention, doing this consistently — as in, every single time the dog jumps on you — the dog will get into the habit of keeping all four paws on the ground.
How many of you have met dogs that jumped on you? Did you ever accidentally invite them into your space? How do you usually deal with it? Let us know below!
*All photo credit goes to @endeavorsofego
Erika Newcomb is a full-time college student with a passion for pooches! She’s been training dogs for over 13 years and has been teaching agility classes for the last 3 years. As part of the behind-the-scenes support for @endeavorsofego, she can often be found brainstorming photo ideas and playing with Ego.