How To Stop Dog From Jumping On People

Key takeaway

Dogs typically jump on people out of excitement and because their owners inadvertently taught them that jumping was acceptable. However, you can teach your dog to stop jumping on people with the proper training.

When your dog first jumps on you, you may think it’s the cutest greeting in the world. However, what starts as a fun greeting can quickly become an annoying habit. When you allow your dog to jump on you, you are training them that it’s okay to jump on people, and in many cases, it isn’t. 

If you have a large dog, jumping on someone can cause injury to both parties involved. Even if you don’t have a large dog, many people don’t like being jumped on. Jumping should be discouraged from the time your dog is a pup to ensure they don’t jump on people when they grow up.

Jumping is a natural behavior, so it’s common for untrained dogs to jump on people as a greeting. However, jumping can be one of the most irritating behaviors for humans because dogs’ paws can be dirty, and their nails can rip clothing. Additionally, heavier dogs can push someone over. Even if you, your family, and your friends don’t mind this, it can still cause a dangerous situation. For this reason, it's a behavior that should be curbed and replaced with a gentler type of greeting. 

Of course, your dog can still greet you excitedly with their tail wagging, but they don’t need to jump on you. Luckily, you can train a dog not to jump on people. This article will discuss why dogs jump on you, how to stop your dog from jumping on people, and things to avoid when teaching them that this behavior is inappropriate. 

Why Do Dogs Jump On People? 

The most common reason dogs jump on people is because they’re excited. Dogs jump for joy when they see their favorite people.1 It’s also a common greeting among canines; your dog may jump on another dog as a way to greet them and let them know they’re ready to play.

Alt-Text: Reason dogs jump on people

If your dog has started to jump on you or your guests, it could be a sign of anxiety. It’s important to know the signs of anxiety in dogs in order to treat it and ensure it doesn’t result in behavioral problems. Depending on your dog’s diagnosis, they may be prescribed anxiety meds for dogs, which can reduce separation anxiety while you implement behavior modification. 

Unfortunately, this type of greeting can be dangerous because dogs can easily knock someone over, especially children and elderly individuals. Additionally, some people fear dogs, so jumping can create an uncomfortable and scary situation. 

If you don’t stop the jumping, your dog will continue to jump on people since they repeat behaviors that get them rewards.1 For example, if your dog jumps on you and you pet them to calm them down, they’re more likely to repeat this behavior. Your friends and family can also reinforce this behavior.1 Even if you think you're helping your dog relax, you may accidentally reward your dog for jumping, which will make your dog think it’s okay to jump on people. 

Negative reactions can also reinforce the behavior.1 For example, someone yelling at the dog may make them think the other person is just as excited as they are, so they’ll continue to jump on people. Additionally, pushing your dog away can feel like a reward because they may think you’re trying to play with them.1

How To Train A Dog Not To Jump On People

As mentioned, both negative and positive reactions can reinforce the behavior. Teaching your dog not to jump on people may also require you to train yourself. It will always be tempting to pet your dog when they jump on you, but it's vital to stop reinforcing the behavior. That said, here’s how to stop your dog from jumping on people. 

Alt-text: How to train a dog not to jump on people 

Manage the situation 

Since it may take weeks for your dog to be trained, you’ll need to manage their environment and prevent them from jumping in the first place because the more they practice a behavior, the harder it is to change. If you have a guest over who doesn’t like dogs or is afraid of dogs, if they are crate trained, you can put your pet in their crate to stop them from incorrectly greeting guests. Or, you can keep them close to you on a leash at a distance from the guest so that they can’t jump on them. Once your dog has calmed down, you can let them out of their crate to greet the person. You should also put a leash on your dog to prevent them from jumping toward someone.

Managing the situation may also involve a little training on its own. For example, you can train the dog to go to their crate as soon as they hear the doorbell, so you can ensure your dog doesn't jump on guests. You can also keep your dog in a separate or gated room when your guests enter. By confining your dog, you can keep them from jumping on the guest altogether.2

Teach your dog to sit

Sitting is one of the most basic dog commands your pet should know because it can come in handy in almost all situations. For example, you can tell your dog to sit as guests enter the home. By training your dog to sit before they can get a reward, you can prevent potentially dangerous situations. 

Once your guest has entered the home, you can give your dog a treat for sitting and not jumping up on them. If you ask your dog to sit every time a guest enters the home, it will eventually become second nature. Your dog will sit every single time someone enters your home because they know they get a reward. It can also be helpful to start rewarding your dog anytime they’re sitting on their own so they start to associate sitting with rewards.

Dog sitting next to owner

Teaching your dog to sit on command can also help you stop this behavior while it occurs. Having this command is a good foundation for all training. For example, if your dog starts jumping on someone, you can ask your dog to sit to get them to stop jumping. 

Ignore your dog until they’re calm

Dogs jump on people as a greeting and for attention. When your dog jumps on someone, they are greeting them while also asking for a greeting in return. If you pay attention to your dog, whether it’s positive or negative attention, you can accidentally reinforce the behavior.2 

Rewards-based training often tells you to reward the good behavior and ignore the bad. While it can be challenging to ignore a jumping dog, your dog will eventually get the hint that their behavior doesn’t get them what they want. Instead of looking at your dog or petting them when they’re jumping on you, walk away and wait for them to calm down. You can then reward them with treats or toys once they’ve calmed down, so they understand calmer behaviors get rewarded. 

Be consistent

With all training, you must be consistent. Dogs only learn from repetition and consistency. Everyone who comes into contact with your dog must do the exact same thing to ensure your dog understands what’s expected of them.3 For example, you can’t let your dog jump on you and try to train them not to jump on guests. Your dog is smart, but that type of training can confuse them, making your training less successful. 

Reward good behavior

Always reward your dog for good behavior when they have allowed someone to enter your home without jumping on them. As soon as your dog puts their paws on the ground, you can give them a treat for their excellent behavior. You can use a friend or family member to help you train your dog. When your friend comes into the home, and the dog begins jumping on them, reward your dog as soon as they sit and stop jumping. 

Things To Avoid When Training Your Dog Not To Jump

Training your dog not to jump is challenging. Your dog will look to you for cues to determine which behaviors get rewards, so it’s best to make the process easy on yourself and your dog by avoiding these things:

What to avoid when training your dog not to jump on people

  • Scolding your dog: Yelling at your dog can make your dog think you’re excited to see them, making them jump more. Instead of scolding your dog, ignore any bad behavior.  
  • Aversive training methods: When learning how to stop a dog from jumping on you, it’s important to avoid aversive training methods, such as electronic collars for dogs, choke collars, prong collars, leash corrections, spraying them in the face, or using loud noises to scare them. This is because they can be harmful to your pup. 
  • Giving your dog attention: Giving your dog attention when they’re jumping reinforces the behavior, making it more difficult to train your dog not to jump.  
  • Physically punishing your dog: Being physical with your dog can injure them, scare them, and cause your dog to be more anxious, which can undo your training and accidentally reward them for unwanted behavior.4 

When To Seek A Dog Trainer

If your training methods aren’t successful or the behavior worsens, consider consulting a professional trainer who can help you learn different training techniques to stop your dog from jumping on people. Trainers can support you as you learn how to teach a dog not to jump on others and ensure you’re training your pup correctly.

Stop Dog From Jumping On People: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to stop dogs from jumping on people? 

Jumping on people can be annoying, but it can also be dangerous. If your dog jumps on someone who is smaller or frailer than them, the person can be injured. 

Why does my dog keep jumping on people?

Your dog keeps jumping on people because they’ve inadvertently been trained to jump on people. Since you’ve allowed your dog to jump on you in the past, they believe jumping on people is an acceptable behavior. 

How long does it take to teach a dog to stop jumping?

Every dog is different and will learn at a different pace. However, it’s important to practice frequently and remain consistent. If you allow your dog to jump on one person but not another, it can undo all of your training, so it’s essential to teach your dog not to jump on anyone. 

Final Notes

Dogs jump on people as a way to greet them. By reinforcing this behavior, you’re teaching your dog that it’s okay to jump on people when it isn’t. If you want to prevent your dog from jumping on people, you’ll need to start training them on which behaviors are acceptable and which are not with rewards-based training. Of course, you’ll need to be consistent and practice regularly to ensure your dog understands what you want them to do. 

While your dog is likely jumping on people because they learned that it was acceptable, dogs with anxiety may be more prone to jumping on their owners when they come home because of the distress they felt while alone. With proper training and behavioral therapy, you can help your dog reduce their anxiety and improve their quality of life. 

Dutch offers behavioral therapy services to help dogs with separation anxiety through training and medication. With the support of a licensed veterinarian, you can help your dog learn not to be stressed while you’re away, so they’re less excited when you come home and more inclined to stop jumping on you. Additionally, veterinarians can teach you the best training techniques for the highest chances of success. 

References

  1. Gibeault, Stephanie. “How to Stop Your Dog from Jumping up on People.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 23 Dec. 2020, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-to-stop-your-dog-from-jumping-up-on-people/.

  2. “Dog Jumping Up.” Best Friends Animal Society, https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/dog-jumping.

  3. “Stop Your Dog from Jumping Up.” The Humane Society of the United States, https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/stop-your-dog-jumping.

  4. “Jumpy Mouthy Dogs” - Center for Shelter Dogs. https://centerforshelterdogs.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CSD-SA-Handout-HIGHLY-EXUBERANT-DOGS-1.pdf.