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This week, it is my pleasure to welcome Guest Blogger, David Muriello, CPDT-KA, from the national school for aspiring dog trainers and behavior experts, CATCH Canine Trainers Academy.

I asked David to post about a holiday-relevant canine behavior issue that most readers can relate to. He suggested a piece of “Holiday Jumping,” and I jumped for joy.

As a dog-lover, it is very hard to resist the Over Greeter. You know the dog that happily meets you at the door with the mission of jumping up on you to deliver wet sloppy kisses. Most of us who love them want to happily hug right back, but it does not help a dog owner who is trying to break this habit that can be annoying at the least to downright scary and sometimes even dangerous.

David was featured on the NDW Blog in June of 2010 in a special Father’s Day post. Thank you, David for contributing once again to the National Dog Week Blog and for being such a great supporter of its mission.

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This year, you want your dog to be part of the fun when guests come over for the holidays… BUT he gets so excited that he jumps on everyone!  The jumping is joyful, but it can drive you and your guests crazy.  People get scratched, sweaters get pulled, and kids get knocked over. Even small breeds can ruin a nice pair of pants. So, here’s what you can do this holiday season to…

 Keep Your Dog from (excessive) Jumping for Joy!

Simple training always starts with management. In trainer terms, management means to set up the situation so the dog can’t fail. In the case of jumping, management ideas include:

  • Put the dog behind a gate, or in a crate, for a few minutes
  • Hold the dog back on leash

These techniques don’t train the dog not to jump. But, they stop it now, and they can be the perfect solution for busy dog owners who just need their dog to be under control for one event!  Here’s how it’s done…

Give Your Dog Some Space

Most dogs are at peak levels of excitement when people first come over, so don’t give your dog a direct shot at the front door as guests enter.  Instead, give your dog his own space, allowing him 10-20 minutes to calm down from behind a gate or similar setup. After a period of time to let his excitement diminish, his behavior will likely be much better.

Tire Him Out

Give your dog a long, tiring exercise session before guests arrive. If you don’t have the time to exercise him yourself, consider a long day at doggy daycare, or hiring a walker to take your dog on an extended hike, run, or visit to the dog park to play with friends.

Change His Focus

When you put your dog in his separate “calm space” as guests are arriving, give him an extra special treat like a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or a delicious marrow bone. Pick something he wouldn’t normally get. This irresistible treat will consume his focus so he can forget about the guests for awhile, allowing his state of excitement to melt into one of calmness as he slurps or chews with delight.

Once guests are done arriving and your dog has calmed down, let him out to mingle! Ideally, he’ll now keep “four-on-the-floor”. But, if you’re worried he might still be a little “jumpy” and susceptible to knocking over Aunt Sally’s wine glass, then keep his leash on for a while and let him drag it around. This way you can quickly hold him back if you see he is about to leap on laps or slurp the cheese plate. Keeping your leash handy for back-up management is a great trick for all naughty dogs around the house. Even after you start a regular training program, some dogs may need quite a bit of practice before they stop jumping for joy!

David Muriello has appeared on ABC-TV’s Rachael Ray Show and regularly appears in Dog Fancy Magazine, including the January 2013 issue. He is the School Director at CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, a national school for aspiring dog trainers and behavior experts.  Through self-paced coursework and hands-on training with personal Mentor Trainers in all U.S. states, CATCH educates the best professionals in the field: dog trainers, dog care and behavior services, shelter and rescue staff. If you are interested in learning more about launching or advancing your career with dogs, call CATCH at 877.752.2824 or email



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