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Polite Greeting Behavior


Over Exuberant Dogs

  • Make sure jumping up is not rewarded. Withdraw your attention from your dog if he jumps up on you-turn your body away until the dog has four feet on the floor. As soon as your dog or puppy jumps up on you, he becomes invisible! By jumping up on you, he is requesting interaction. Even if the interaction he receives is "No! Off. Down." And a push down, his jumping behavior has been rewarded and will continue. However, if the dog gets no interaction unless he has four feet on the floor, he will be more likely to get in the habit of greeting people in a standing or sitting position.


  • Treat jumping up as a request for some time alone. If withdrawal of your attentions proves to be an insufficient motivator to change your pup's behavior, you can increase the consequences of jumping up from simply turning away to treating jumping as a request for some alone time in a crate or dog proofed bathroom (no soap, toilet paper, or towels within reach). A short, non-dramatic time out of one to five minutes is often sufficient for the puppy or dog to understand that flinging themselves on people is not a desired behavior. There is no need to make a fuss when escorting your pup to their quiet spot-yelling, scolding, or harsh tones will not hasten your dog's understanding of this new rule, and may even damage your relationship. Gently take your dog by the collar and walk them calmly to their space. When the time out is over, calmly let them out and praise them warmly if they greet you with four feet on the floor.


  • Call for Back Up. You can enlist the help of strangers that want to pet your dog by asking them, "Will you please pet my dog when he sits?" Most strangers that are looking at your dog with adoring eyes will be more than happy to join in your training efforts.


Shy Dogs

  • Use Canine-Friendly Body Language. For dogs that are shy rather than over exuberant in their greeting behavior, it will help to have the new person crouch down and turn their side toward the puppy. Avoiding direct eye contact is also considered polite manners when greeting any new canine, and can help the dog feel less threatened.


  • Resist the Urge to Reward Shyness. As the puppy's owner, be very careful not to reward your shy puppy for exhibiting fear. We want them to know that confidence is preferred. Even though your words may be, "It's alright, Fido. You're okay," the message that your puppy will get from the soothing tone and gentle petting is that you like their behavior, not that you want them to change it. Help your dog build his confidence by allowing him to take tasty treats from new people and praising him for any sign of curiosity or friendliness toward new people.


Whether your dog tends to over enthusiasm or shyness, remember that he is doing his best to fit in to a human society. Be patient while he adapts his greetings from nose sniffing followed by rear end sniffing (which other dogs consider polite) to human-style greetings where jumping followed by crotch sniffing is frowned upon.