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Discussion Starter #1
Pai has recently started jumping up and nose-bumping (nose-smashing) particular people in the face. He's always been a bit jumpy and overly enthusiastic, but the intensity and frequency of this particular behaviour has increased in the last few weeks and he's successfully bumped a few people in a super unexpected and intense way. I'm now starting to be more proactive in preventing it, basically by anticipating that he may jump on every person and being ready to intercept. Interestingly, I've notice it's most likely to happen with people who are more hyper or nervous themselves? Also, it sometimes catches me off guard in that he'll be fine and decently calm and then BOOM, he's up in their face. It happened most recently at fairly remote off-leash trail. He ignored the dog and fixated on jumping on the dog's handler. He got her right in the mouth. She was understandably upset. Pai was about 15 feet in front of me at the time and had never done this while out hiking, so I really wasn't expecting it. It's also happened recently while on leash and at home.

I don't know what this behaviour means or why it's happening again with such enthusiasm. It is entirely not aggressive - more like overly friendly. He's a close talker at the best of times but this is taking it too far. Has anyone else experienced this before? I'd love some strategies for helping him work though this. Thank you!
 

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Yes. Bennie sometimes reacts to people's enthusiasm this way too. I'm always scared she may do it to someone who doesn't know her and it could cause an issue... I have yer to find a way to get rid of the behavior, but it sounds exactly like what your guy does.
 

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If I was pretty sure this was an over-exuberant greeting behavior, I would probably work on sit for greetings. You will need someone to help you, basically you put Pai in a sit-stay (whether it's in heel position or not is your preference) and ask someone to approach. If Pai's butt comes off the ground, the person turns and walks away. Absolutely no eye contact, petting, attention, talking, unless the butt stays on the ground - the person disengages and walks away if it doesn't. At the same time, you can treat/praise for keeping the butt on the ground as someone approaches. Practice and proof it in more and more stimulating/exciting environments.

If you want faster results and don't mind a little more aversive techniques (and are sure he can handle an aversive technique), you could put Pai in a sit-stay and stand on the leash so he essentially gets a leash correction if he tries to jump. Whether that's an option depends on his overall personality.

And unfortunately I would keep on-leash for the time being. It's no fun to get punched in the face even if it's enthusiasm instead of aggression.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
If I was pretty sure this was an over-exuberant greeting behavior, I would probably work on sit for greetings. You will need someone to help you, basically you put Pai in a sit-stay (whether it's in heel position or not is your preference) and ask someone to approach. If Pai's butt comes off the ground, the person turns and walks away. Absolutely no eye contact, petting, attention, talking, unless the butt stays on the ground - the person disengages and walks away if it doesn't. At the same time, you can treat/praise for keeping the butt on the ground as someone approaches. Practice and proof it in more and more stimulating/exciting environments.
This is what we started when he was a pup, and in truth I gave up because it seemed impossible to proof all of the different ways he would be greeted by humans in all the different environments. New humans are Pai's kryptonite; greetings are our biggest training challenge. Do you think if we started back at square one it would actually be possible to improve his greeting behaviour this way? The other consideration is that even if we proofed a solid sit for greetings, which seems impossible given the sheer number and type of people we meet, we'd eventually have to graduate to proofing whatever he does after the sit? This is kind of where it breaks down for us. He's trained to sit and receive treats for sitting and not freaking out, but he's like a top that's wound too tight - when it's finally released it goes kind of haywire. Have you had any luck with this?

If you want faster results and don't mind a little more aversive techniques (and are sure he can handle an aversive technique), you could put Pai in a sit-stay and stand on the leash so he essentially gets a leash correction if he tries to jump. Whether that's an option depends on his overall personality.
The new trainer we've started with is helping me understand how corrections work. I've been averse to this is the thing. Pai is not a soft dog - he's sensitive and sometimes does hang on to stuff, but he's also very exuberant and oafish. I actually think he may do better with clearer explanations of what he should and should't be doing at this point - but I just don't trust myself yet to communicate this to him. I am going to hear the trainer out and see if there's a way of integrating this kind of work into what we've done so far. What a crazy learning curve.

And unfortunately I would keep on-leash for the time being. It's no fun to get punched in the face even if it's enthusiasm instead of aggression.
True.

Yes. Bennie sometimes reacts to people's enthusiasm this way too. I'm always scared she may do it to someone who doesn't know her and it could cause an issue... I have yer to find a way to get rid of the behavior, but it sounds exactly like what your guy does.
Glad to know we're not alone :)
 

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Bennie is the SAME way, it doesn't matter how nicely she greets at first. She gets overexcited at some point and POPS up, and it can be super super hard to know when she's going to do it. And she usually doesn't do it at all, so training it is very difficult. I usually just try to warn people of the possibility, honestly.
 

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I agree with Sass's recommendations.

I like stepping on the leash too. I generally don't consider it a leash correction the way most people do leash corrections. I guess because the dog is correcting himself by jumping. Most dogs wouldn't have an issue with this as long as they weren't on a correction collar.

I found this worked well with Watson, along with more maturity. He almost never jumps on strangers now (he jumps all over friends though). Mostly because I just held his leash short enough that he could get attention from people when he jumped. The people didn't have to help or be in on it, I just had to be good with the leash.
 

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I had Abhik out for her second time off the farm to go to the vet clinic, she was excited about people so I had her on a short lead.. lol People lol..... since she wasn't able to come to them, they came over to her and stood over her and hovered down at her,all it took was one leap of a 120 plus pound puppy hitting them at close range full force backwards,, for them not to want any more of that to stay back and let her be..... once the induced over stimulating was over with, Abhik quickly calmed down on her own to standing and sitting just listening to the conversations and for getting some attention.. Humans were much more cautious not to over excite her and mind their body language.. Dogs go in and out of phases so when a phase returns you go back to strict constructive basics in training boundaries for behaviors for events, and allow it to work it's self out, when the dog is ready to have freedom on their own again.
 

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I agree with Sass's recommendations.

I like stepping on the leash too. I generally don't consider it a leash correction the way most people do leash corrections. I guess because the dog is correcting himself by jumping. Most dogs wouldn't have an issue with this as long as they weren't on a correction collar.
Kabota would not be okay with this. The OP's dog might be, but I'm hesitant to suggest it not knowing the dog.

Have you considered Sit to Say Please? I think making sit highly rewarding in ALL situations, instead of just one or two, would improve sit as a solution to this problem. I accidentally did this with Kabota (sit is pretty much all he knows, he's not very smart) and he uses sit in all sorts of situations on his own. Actually, if you fail to notice his sit, he'll do a very deliberate "loud" sit until you do. It's hilarious.
 

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Kabota would not be okay with this. The OP's dog might be, but I'm hesitant to suggest it not knowing the dog.
What if you re-phrased it as tethering the dog to something, then have a person approach. If the dog jumps, the person steps back. The dog is on a leash so he can't get to the person and must learn to stay sitting in order to get petted

It's the same thing, though it removes the term "correction". If the dog is so soft that he's not ok being held back by a leash when he tries to jump on someone, he's probably not running around and muzzle punching people either. Dogs that soft generally don't have much of an issue learning not to tackle strangers. Sometimes you need to prevent the jumping completely if the dog finds it that self-rewarding. It's not enough to just ignore and wait for them to sit after they've already jumped all over a person.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dogs go in and out of phases so when a phase returns you go back to strict constructive basics in training boundaries for behaviors for events, and allow it to work it's self out, when the dog is ready to have freedom on their own again.
I really like this. I'm new enough to puppy-rearing that, a year or so in, I'm starting to see that phases do exist and behaviours are fluid and don't *always* stick around. I used to be very concerned with catching and stopping all the behaviours that were undesirable from escalating straight away, for fear that they might become worse and worse and we'd never be rid of them. For example, Pai went through a painful phase of barking at every little sound he heard at night (there's a post on that here somewhere). It was killing me. I actually took the advice of a forum member and started praising at very early stages of his getting upset - like "Good boy, thank you!" when I heard a rumble, rather than waiting until he was full out barking. It helped for sure, but what i think helped most was just time. He now does it very rarely and I've been getting very good sleeps :)

With in mind, I like the idea of going back to constructive basics for training boundaries, removing some freedoms (though this will be hard) and waiting until he's ready to start offering him more room (slack?) to make better choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Have you considered Sit to Say Please? I think making sit highly rewarding in ALL situations, instead of just one or two, would improve sit as a solution to this problem. I accidentally did this with Kabota (sit is pretty much all he knows, he's not very smart) and he uses sit in all sorts of situations on his own. Actually, if you fail to notice his sit, he'll do a very deliberate "loud" sit until you do. It's hilarious.
We used to do this and I tried for a long while to have other people in my life - family and friends mostly - do it too. With me, probably because I do a lot of other calming-focused training, it works really well, and I think this is partly why he doesn't jump on me at all (and offers a very cute and enthusiastic sit for me every time). One reason why this failed with strangers, I think, is that Pai loves novelty. He is a sucker for anything and anyone new. His arousal level skyrockets with new people, usually beyond where he can easily accept treats even. Also, ignoring his jumping became really hard early on because he's a big boy - now around 80 lbs. We just have to contain him somehow.

My approach until now was to use a leash and rapid fire treat him AWAY from the new person with something delicious until he was calm enough to be 'released' to great, which was always more intense than I'd wanted even waiting him out to calm down a bit but at least we were able to get him to come down a little before the greeting happened. I also rapid fire treated him while out trailing so he actually started ignoring people (not dogs, though) and coming to me instead for treats - so that was a win. He's never been great, but there has been a noticeable regression lately. The lady that was punched most recently and who got upset with me really is what has caused me to reconsider my approach. I really want him to have freedoms and for us to be able to do off leash things. That's where we are now.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
What if you re-phrased it as tethering the dog to something, then have a person approach. If the dog jumps, the person steps back. The dog is on a leash so he can't get to the person and must learn to stay sitting in order to get petted

It's the same thing, though it removes the term "correction". If the dog is so soft that he's not ok being held back by a leash when he tries to jump on someone, he's probably not running around and muzzle punching people either. Dogs that soft generally don't have much of an issue learning not to tackle strangers. Sometimes you need to prevent the jumping completely if the dog finds it that self-rewarding. It's not enough to just ignore and wait for them to sit after they've already jumped all over a person.
Intuitively this makes a lot of sense to me. You're right that he's not soft and he likely will not be overly upset with being self corrected (?) with a leash. However he will fight it I know that much. I do think we need to go back to basics with some clearer way of communicating that this kind of full body contact greeting is really not okay. I will definitely consider how I can be more proactive in preventing it, but as with Eenypup's pup, sometimes it's totally unexpected and in situations like this there's got to be some recourse. I use an EZ walk harness almost exclusively for city walks and a Front Range with the back clip for trail hikes - neither are really doing much for 'correcting' him, and because he's so big it's very hard to stop him from practicing the behaviour when I catch it mid launch.

ETA - maybe I should film it?
 
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