Dog Tip: How to stop dog jumping on people
Updated: Aug 25
Does this sound familiar? The doorbell rings, your dog barks, you open the door to let your friend inside and your dog proceeds to greet your friend by jumping upon them?
How embarrassing! You are yelling at your dog to stop jumping when you should be providing a warm welcome to your friend. Your friend may love dogs, but nobody likes to be jumped on or even worse knocked over by a big dog… I know I don’t.
Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to open your front door and your dog calmly joins you in welcoming your guests?
I would dread the doorbell every time someone came over or UPS had a delivery. My dogs would go nuts barking, jumping at the window, and when I tried to open the door they would try and push their way through. I think the UPS driver dreaded ringing my bell just as much as I did!
One day, I decided that was enough! It was so stressful just to receive a package. So I started teaching my dogs the place command.
As soon as the doorbell rings, I tell them PLACE, and they must go to their dog beds until I release them. Wow, what a difference it has made. Not only does this work for the doorbell, but any time I need my dogs to be focused and out of the way.
Why does my dog jump?
Do you know WHY your dog likes to jump on people? It’s usually because they are excited and looking for attention.
Think about it. When your dog jumps, you respond by talking or petting him, right? Both actions are rewarding the jumping. Even yelling at your dog or pushing her off are reinforcing the jumping.
So how is it possible to stop your dog from jumping on people without talking? It’s easier than you may think.
4 proven ways to stop your dog from jumping on people
1. Reward your dog for NOT jumping
The first and most important step is to stop rewarding the jumping behavior. Don’t reward him AFTER jumping, reward BEFORE the jumping starts.
Only pet your dog when they are calm and relaxed.
Do not look at him, do not touch him, do not talk to him. You must completely ignore your dog. Any attention is rewarding for him, so even talking to him gives him reason to jump.
Remember, your dog is jumping to get your attention, and if you give him any attention at all, he will assume jumping = attention.
When you come home from work or shopping, ignore your dog until he calms down. Do not talk, look or pet your dog until he is calm.
It’s also important to be patient, your dog is going to try and try to get your attention, jumping may turn into nudging or other behaviors. Be consistent and you will start to notice the behaviors diminish.
It’s difficult to instruct someone you don’t know to ignore your dog. So if your dog jumps up at strangers on walks, it’s best to avoid any situation that allows her to jump until you have the jumping under control at home.
2. Use a long line leash to stop your dog from jumping on you Using a long line leash is the perfect training tool to stop your dog from jumping on you, your guests, and strangers. McCann dog training has a great video to explain how to teach your dog to stop jumping in 4 simple steps:
Getting control with the leash
Setting up the training exercise
Adding a cue
3. Move toward your dog when jumping
I’ve seen trainers instruct to turn away when your dog is jumping, and while I do agree to ignore the jumping, the best advice I’ve received is to MOVE TOWARD the dog.
I know this may sound crazy, but if you move away then your dog is thinking this is a game. You move back, the dog jumps, you move back, the dog jumps.
Move into their space and they can’t jump anymore, they lose their balance and quickly learn that this is your space and jumping is not an option.
For example, if you come home and your dog starts jumping on you, you should continue to walk right through him. Go on with taking off your shoes, go to the bathroom, and do whatever chores you need to do until your dog calms down.
4. Teach your dog the Place command
The Place training is valuable in so many situations. We use the Place command anytime the doorbell rings and it has changed our lives.
The Place command is simply a technique to teach your dog to go to a particular spot (a mat, dog bed, carpet) on cue. Your dog should stay in his place until he is released by you.
Our dog Bear even surprised me one day by going to his “place” even without me asking! He heard the UPS truck pull up to our house, he walked himself right over to his place and lay down! I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was in shock. We do practice the place command daily, sometimes several times a day, so it makes sense that Bear would connect UPS man to Place command.
[Related: Learn Why You Need to Teach the PLACE Command to Your Dog and the steps on how to do teach him Place.]
Dogs jumping on people is a very common issue so don’t feel bad. It’s hard to ignore a dog that you love so much. And when our dogs are small and young, it’s cute when they jump up to lick your face.
Before you know it, you will have an adult dog, big or small, jumping on you.
Therefore, it is important to start teaching your dog not to jump even if he is still a puppy. Start early.
It’s so easy to unknowingly reinforce a dog jumping behavior.