We all know our pet doesn't understand the English language, but us well meaning humans talk to our dogs in all different scenarios. We tell them about our day, we explain where we're going, and we tell them how much we love them! It's natural to tell them, in English, what we want them to do and what we don't want to see.
When I first enter a client's home, I see owners stating "No!" or "Down!" then try it a little louder while their dog is jumping all over me when I come in. It makes me smile... It's not a big deal in that moment. These well-meaning pet owners just haven't quite learned how to communicate with their dog, and it's really one of my favorite things to teach.
It really truly shows the pet owner the magic of dog training... or "family therapy", as I like to call it.
There are three things that happen when you learn your dog will never understand a negative, "don't", "no", "down!" and "stop!" just are not in their vocabulary. Dogs exhibit behaviors when they work, or alternatively it's their default because they haven't learned what to do to get what they want yet! From that perspective, I'd like you to take a look at why your dog may be jumping.
1. It gets your attention.
2. They've been ignored. Jumping at some point has been reinforced, so that tells them to do the behavior that once worked (even that one time, when grandpa stopped over!... or with the kids... or only with Dad...) just a little bit more... and more... and more... until you're forced to be chasing them around again.
This is why we see continual jumping problems even when the dog is ignored.
Now, let's chat about if we stop telling our pup "not to" and we start teaching them that there is a faster way to get what they want! To take it even further, let's add a little incentive the first few times (like a food based reward) to show them that that is really the fast track to the attention they are looking for.
We're going to bring our dog from:
People coming in (pup is looking for attention!) => Jumping = people yelling and chasing and pulling me down = "That was great attention... Let's do it again!!!!"
People coming in (pup is looking for attention!) => Jumping = being ignored = jump EVEN MORE until they have to pull me down ("YAY! Attention... Jumping MORE worked!)
Ignoring is part of the equation, but it doesn't work on it's own! You may see your pup jump MORE THAN EVER the first time you ignore that behavior.
People coming in => Sitting => Human comes down to my level to greet me (Reward: Attention!), and I might get a food based reward
People coming in => Place cue => Reward (food based, attention- when I'm in my "place", etc)
People coming in => Going to grab my toy for a game of fetch! (sit cue, drop toy cue!) => Reward (game of fetch, squeaky toy reward, etc)
The key is showing your dog what you DO want them to do, as well as a variety of steps to ensure that we're setting them up for success.
You can see here, from these examples, that you teach many alternate behaviors/rewards to prevent jumping... but telling them "No!" surely won't explain to your pet what you DO want to see!