Jumping dogs is a common behavioral problem experience by many dog owners. The short answer as to why dogs jump is because it is a natural form of greeting for them. Our actions then inadvertently convince the dog that jumping is an acceptable form of greeting between man and dog.
Any behavior that receives positive reinforcement is likely to occur more often. Nobody cared when your dog was a puppy and jumped on them. They petted, praised and coddled the cute little pup while he jumped all over them. They fed him treats and threw a toy for him.
This natural behavior has now received consistent positive reinforcement over time thus solidifying the behavior. Now the cute little pup weighs 90 pounds and can floor the average person with one jump. Jumping is no longer "cute".
Now you are trying to stop the dog from jumping which is in direct conflict with a long reinforcement history that has always told him it is OK to jump. Your attempts to control and change the behavior are competeing with what the dog has always been told is acceptable.
Whenever training is in conflict with a behavior it is the conflict that draws the attention of all involved not the behavior you are trying to correct. As a result the dogs focus is on avoiding your attempts to correct him and not on the jumping behavior you are trying to change.
The fact that your dog is jumping on other people is actually a good thing. It tells me that he is a confident, social animal that is comfortable actively seeking out interactions with people.
All jumping is not the same however. Dogs that jump on their owners are likely stressed and uncomfortable with a situation.
They are trying to avoid an uncomfortable situation and are soliciting their owner to protect them and remove them from the situation. Correcting a dog for this will only exacerbate the problem and lead to distrust in the dog/owner relationship. So our plan to address and change a behavior must start with an evaluation of the individual dog.
Fixing the problem is not about correcting the jumping behavior. We simply need to stop reinforcing it. Dogs do what works for them. If a behavior does not have a benefit to the dog then it will tend to go away on its own.
It is a survival mechanism. Engaging in behavior that doesn't work needlessly expends energy. Dogs instinctively know that such dead end behaviors are not in their best interest.
We can speed the process up by offering positive reinforcement for an alternative behavior, for example sitting to be greeted. The dog cannot sit and jump at the same time. If sitting works and jumping doesn't then sitting will win out as the behavior of choice.
At Showcase for dogs we train the total dog. We address behavior issues and well as manners and formal obedience training. Our goal is to provide you with a confident enjoyable dog. We offer flexible training classes and private lessons. Please contact me if I can help you with your dog.