It can be frustrating when your pup jumps on you when you get home, your friend when they visit, or nearly knocks over a stranger on the street. Your dog doesn’t know this is wrong — they’re likely just showing excitement. So how do we get our pups to stop jumping on people, without making it seem like a punishment?
First, think about why they’re jumping. Is it friendly? Is it aggressive? Have they not seen you or your friend in a long time?
If it seems friendly, then it’s likely due to them being excited. This is a way for your dog to express themselves and show you how happy they are to see you.
If it seems aggressive, then you need to put an end to it as soon as possible.
In rare cases, jumping on people can be a sign of stress. Your dog may try to get your attention by jumping on you or they may feel safer when you’re focused on them. So, how do you control this behavior?
My Dog Jumps on People. How Can I Manage That?
Dogs need repetition to learn. If you let them jump on certain people, but reprimand them when they jump on others, then they won’t learn. You need to be stern and firm — my dogs jumps on everyone, or no one.
The key is to try and catch them before they jump on someone. We recommend starting the old fashioned method: a leash and a harness. Hold the dog back while someone they know walks in their home and keep them out of reach from the person. The person should enter the home calmly, greet you, take off their shoes, and ignore the dog at first. Your dog may be whimpering, whining, and barking, but ignore it.
Then, on your friend’s terms, approach the dog. They can talk to them gently and approach slowly. It may help to get on the dog’s level too.
If your dog jumps, tell them no and walk them away from the person. Have them sit and calm down, then try again. If they approach the other person without jumping, then reward them with treats. Have every guest do this until your dog knows that jumping will not be rewarded.
Redirect Your Dog
If that doesn’t work, redirect your dog with another command or action. Teach them to grab a pillow or a toy in their mouth when the door opens. Teach them to sit or go to their “place” (bed, crate, whatever it may be), and have them stay there until you release them.
This is tricky, but can be done with a lot of repetition and praise! Eventually, your dog will default to this reaction whenever someone new walks in your home or approaches them.
Add More People
The ultimate test is to add another person into the mix. This way, your dog will learn that this new learned behavior applies to everyone, not just one person.
Basic Manners classes can be a great way to work on this, too. You’ll have instructors available, and other class participants!
You can practice this off leash, too. You may just need to have the person turn away slightly and wait to see what your dog does.
If Your Dog Breaks Habit, Do Not Reward Them!
If your dog breaks and jumps on a friend, you have to take charge. Reprimand your dog and ask your friend to not let them jump. If they try, move back and tell them your chosen word, such as “down,” or “off.”
If your dog just doesn’t get it, that’s okay. You can look into training classes and have a professional try all of their tricks. They’ll teach you too, so don’t worry about doing something wrong! We have a blog all about how to find the perfect dog trainer for you and your pup, so be sure to check that out here.
Or if you’re looking for other cool tricks to teach your dog, then check out this one: we go over how to teach them to ring a bell when they want to go outside!