6 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Jumping That Actually Work

Does your dog have a habit of jumping on people to greet them or get their attention? Sometimes it’s difficult to resist those happy puppy hugs, but jumping can easily turn into a behavior that’s a nuisance — or dangerous.

Even if you’re generally unbothered by your dog’s actions, their jumping might frighten other people or knock them off balance — regardless of the dog’s size or age.

But the good news is that with a little dedication, you can teach your pup to keep their paws on the ground. Here are six tips to help you stop your dog from jumping on people.

woman playing with her dog in the park. Image taken at iStockalypse Milan.

1. Ignore your dog whenever they jump

A dog who jumps on people often is excited and seeking attention. So a major part of your training is learning to completely ignore your dog anytime they jump on you. And instruct everyone — family, friends and even people who briefly meet your dog — to do the same. Anyone who has contact with your dog must comply with this practice, or training will be confusing for the dog and difficult for you.

Whenever your dog jumps, VetStreet recommends folding your arms across your chest and freezing until the dog backs off. Or you can completely turn your back to them. And don’t add to your dog’s excitement by yelling at them or pushing them, as they might just see that as part of the fun.

“For anything your dog gets in life, whether it’s your attention or a meal, only give the reward when all four paws are on the floor,” VetStreet says. “Jumping up should end all attention and rewards, while remaining fixed on the ground garners all the pleasurable reinforcement a dog desires — treats, petting, play.”

2. Solidify ‘sit’

Dog sitting on a welcome mat at front door

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A helpful method to stop your dog’s jumping behavior is to give them something else to do instead. And one of the simplest ways to do that is by using a command they likely already know: “Sit.”

“Dogs can easily learn to sit every time they greet a person, even when they are very happy to see that person,” according to Best Friends Animal Society. “When they are trained to associate meeting a person with a sit cue and a treat, soon they will sit and wait for a treat without a cue.”

To start, train your dog to reliably sit on command if they don’t already. Use healthy treats and lots of praise to really solidify the behavior.

If jumping at the door is a problem, Best Friends suggests placing a mat or dog bed near the entryway of your home where your dog will sit and wait to politely greet guests. Teach your dog to sit on that spot, and reward them only when they hold their position. You can even come up with a special command, such as “welcome,” so your dog knows you want them to go to that greeting spot. But in most cases, a solid “sit” command should be enough.

Then, you’re ready for some practice visitors.

3. Practice visitor scenarios

To really teach your dog what you want them to do — besides jumping — when someone enters your house, set up practice visitor scenarios. At first,  just go through the motions alone with your dog. Place some treats outside your door, and make sure the mat or other spot where your dog will sit is in place.

“Go outside, pick up a treat and, as you enter the house, ask the dog to sit,” Best Friends says. “Use your body to position the dog on the mat as you walk in. Do not give the treat or praise until the dog sits.”

If your dog begins jumping, ignore them and wait. Don’t keep repeating the “sit” cue. Eventually they should learn that this is the same “sit” exercise they already know, just with you entering the door. Be sure to treat them every time they do it right to help it click.

Once your dog is sitting upon your entry, add a knock or doorbell ring to the mix. Then, have family and friends come to the door as visitors. Ask your dog to sit as they enter, and have them treat the dog for good behavior. This might be a slow, tedious process — but it’s one that’s worth it in the end.

4. Wait for a calm greeting

If your dog is a very exuberant jumper whenever people arrive at your house, you might need to take further steps to achieve a calm greeting. VetStreet recommends fitting your dog with a front-clip harness or head halter — options that will help discourage jumping — and leashing them before you allow guests inside.

“When your dog is calm, with all four paws on the floor — which may take up to a few minutes for more excitable dogs — allow him to approach guests and say hello,” VetStreet says. “If he jumps, gently turn and lead him away; wait for calm behavior before approaching again.” But never drag your dog or jerk on the leash.

You can practice this same tactic out in public, as well. “If someone wants to meet your dog, ask the person not to approach him unless he is in a sit,” Best Friends explains. “If necessary, lure your dog into a sit with a treat.”

Make sure anyone who’s greeting your dog maintains a calm demeanor, so they don’t add to your dog’s excitement level. And don’t hesitate to ask the person to stop giving your dog attention if any bad canine manners start to creep back in.

5. Distract your dog

dog holding a toy in their mouth

Photo Credit: Getty Images

If greeting visitors is simply too exciting for your dog to focus on their training cues, sometimes distraction tactics can work.

“For some dogs, simply holding something in their mouth during a greeting sequence nixes jumping,” VetStreet says. “The preferred item depends on the animal, as some dogs prefer stuffed toys or balls while others like long-lasting chews. Pre-stuffed food puzzles are another option.”

Keep these items handy by the door. And you can even try carrying a toy on walks to squeak or otherwise use to distract your dog.

Likewise, VetStreet suggests starting a game of fetch as soon as visitors arrive to help channel your dog’s excitement. You also can toss treats on the floor, so the dog looks down instead of jumps up. If you can distract your dog for just a few minutes after a new person’s arrival, that’s often enough time for their excitement to diminish to the point where they’re not as motivated to jump.

6. Be consistent

The best thing you can do when it comes to training your dog is to be consistent. Remember, your dog is always learning from you. Even if you have a no-tolerance policy for jumping during your training sessions, you have to keep that up as you go about your daily life for your dog to truly understand what you want. Take advantage of opportunities to practice their commands. Don’t get upset or discouraged. And always reward good behavior with petting, praise and treats.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

42 comments

Barbara S
Barbara S11 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Thomas M
Thomas M12 days ago

Thank you

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Naomi D
Naomi D13 days ago

When we first get aa dog one of the things we teach is to NOT jump up on us or anyone. A knee to the stomach only one or two times stops the jumping for good.

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Kevin B
Kevin B14 days ago

thanks for posting

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Amparo Fabiana Chepote
Amparo Fabiana C20 days ago

Great ideas. Thank you.

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Patricia A
Patricia A20 days ago

thanks

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Louise A
Louise A24 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Kathy K
Kathy K24 days ago

Thanks.

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h24 days ago

tyfs

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Janet B
Janet B25 days ago

Thanks

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