When you hear "Boxer" what image comes to mind? Perhaps someone like Sylvester Stallone, throwing punches in the ring and inspiring audiences in the movie "Rocky". If you are the owner of a lovable Boxer, then perhaps what comes to mind is your dog jumping into the air and "throwing punches" at you.
Boxers can be a lot of fun. With their often optimistic outlook on life, their enthusiasm for about everything, and their springiness, it's hard not to enjoy one. With such a fun personality, energy, and excitement, it should come as no surprise that your Boxer is jumping on you. This jumping is often meant as an expression of your puppy's excitement and as a way to gain your attention, but as your puppy grows, the jumping can become annoying and even downright dangerous, when your elderly grandmother or two-year-old niece comes to your home. The longer that the jumping continues, especially if your puppy is being petted when he jumps, the harder it is to teach your Boxer not to jump. For that reason, and because your Boxer's jumping will become more dangerous as he grows, it is extremely important to teach your puppy not to jump while he is still young.
Teaching your puppy not to jump, not only saves you from annoyance and the risk of someone being knocked over, it also has the added benefit of teaching your puppy how to exert self-control and act more polite. There are few things that make you want to pet a dog more than when the dog sits nicely and waits patiently to be greeted, without even being told. As the owner of such a dog, it can make you feel very proud, and even more so if that dog is only a puppy. Not jumping is also a prerequisite for a lot of other, more advanced training. If you wish for your dog to become certified one day as a Therapy Dog, Service Dog, or even Canine Good Citizen, then your dog must not jump while greeting people. If you wish to show your dog in Conformation, or progress in the American Kennel Club's Obedience trials, then your dog also must not jump on people.
How long this will take to teach your puppy depends on several factors. It depends on what age your puppy is; the younger your puppy, the quicker your puppy is likely to learn this. It depends on whether or not your puppy has been petted before when he jumped, and if so, how often? Finally, it depends on the personality of your puppy. Some puppies are naturally more excited, pushy, or outgoing, and so struggle more than others not to jump. In general, though, expect this to take between one month and four months to train. Your puppy might stop jumping on you rather quickly, but it might take him longer to generalize the lesson to other people too. For this reason, it is very important to practice this around other people, once your puppy has mastered not jumping on you.
Because jumping is an attention seeking behavior, remember not to give your puppy any type of attention that he will find rewarding when he jumps. While you are teaching this, be careful to remain calm and firm while your puppy attempts to jump on you. If you begin to yell, make quick movements, or act frightened or nervous, your puppy may become even more excited by your reaction, and it might encourage your puppy to jump even more. When you praise your puppy for acting polite, speak to him in a soft and happy voice, rather than in an excited voice. This will help him to continue his good behavior and maintain his self-control. Instruct friends and family members to do the same thing.
When you reward your puppy, if you are rewarding him for sitting, then offer him the treat underneath his chin, so that he will look down, and so that he will not be encouraged to jump when he sees a treat above his head. If you are rewarding him for simply standing or for laying down, then drop the treat at his feet, so that he will look down, and will not be encouraged to jump when he sees a treat above his head. Dropping treats on the floor will also encourage him to focus on the floor, rather than on jumping, in anticipation of receiving a reward there in the future.
To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats, and a Zip-Loc bag or treat pouch that can be hidden from sight in your pocket or underneath your shirt. You will also need the help of various family members and friends as your puppy improves. You will also need a calm, firm, and patient attitude, as well as a soft and kind tone of voice for praising your puppy. If you are using the 'Sit' method and your puppy does not already know how to 'sit', then you will also need a corner to teach this in. If you are using the 'Sit' method or "the 'Leave' method, you will also need a door that leads to the outside of your home, such as a front door, to teach this by. Last, but perhaps most importantly, you will need consistency and the self-control to resist petting your puppy anytime that he jumps, in or outside of training sessions.