How To Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up

Last updated on June 16, 2022

By Brenda Schlabach

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Jumping is one of the most common behavioral problems among dogs.

It might seem cute and harmless when your pup greets you this way, but things quickly get out of hand when your fully grown Doodle leaps upon guests and you're alternating between shouts of "Get Down!" and "Don't worry, he's friendly!"

Or you may be annoyed by paw prints on your best suit - but jumping is more than an irritating habit; it can be downright dangerous for children, disabled, or elderly folks. The good news is you can definitely teach your dog to greet everyone politely!

Why dogs greet by Jumping

There are two main reasons why most dogs greet you by jumping – firstly, it's a natural canine behavior. If you watch two dogs say hello after an absence, they’ll run up to each other, rise up on their back legs, and do a little happy dance.

The second reason for this behavior is because your dog wants your attention. After a long, boring day at home without you, your dog's attention tank is pretty much running on empty.

Your homecoming is beyond exciting to your pup, and he just wants to greet you as he best knows how. (And let’s be honest, the best reason why we all own dogs is this unabashed joy at seeing us!🙂)

An Alternative To Jumping

However endearing your pup's enthusiastic greetings may seem to you, not everyone that enters your house will enjoy dirtied clothes, doggy breath in their face, or worst of all, being bowled over by an unexpected greeting. 

Simply put, jumping is rude, and should not be tolerated.  Let's take a look at some things you can do to train your dog to keep his paws to himself.

Teach Your Dog an Appropriate Greeting

  • Keep Your Cool. The first key to stop a dog from jumping is staying calm when you greet. Keep your voice at an even tone, and your body movements minimal; a high-pitched voice, or excited body language can trigger a round of jumps.
  • Withhold Attention. As soon as your dog jumps up, turn your back. Cross your arms over your chest and pay no attention to him until he's calm with all 4 paws on the ground.  
  • Avoid Touch. A continuation of the second one, any physical contact is rewarding for your dog. Attention, even negative attention, reinforces jumping behavior. That's right, when you push your dog off of you, your dog will just think it's part of the game! Once he's calm, then and only then, say hi, and pet him.  

Dogs repeat behaviors that earn them rewards, and remember - any physical contact is rewarding for your dog. Therefore, it makes sense to completely ignore their bad behavior, and wait to reward until all 4 feet are on the floor. This way, you are teaching him that jumping does NOT result in attention, but standing or sitting calmly does. 

  • Reward Good Behavior. When you're working on training, it can really help to keep some treats close at hand. As soon as your dog is standing in front of you with all four paws on the ground, praise him and toss a treat. Positive reinforcement goes a long way!
  • Add A Sit Command. Want to impress your friends with your well-mannered pooch? Have your puppy sit and 'shake a paw'! It's impossible to sit and jump at the same time, so training him to sit for greeting strangers is a great way to divert his jumping habits. Don't forget to reward!
jumping dog

Practice Makes Perfect

It's good to involve friends and family in this training. Otherwise, your dog may learn that jumping up on you is a no-no, but everyone else is fair game. Having other people help with this training teaches your dog to say hello politely no matter who comes into the room.

Consistent practice is key! Be sure your family is all on the same page - it's confusing to your dog when it's ok to jump up on one person but not others. 

It can be particularly hard to prevent jumping when you’re walking your dog. You can’t expect strangers to know your rules. So for this, you’ll need to bring along some treats.

If someone asks if they can pet your dog, explain he’s in training, and say, "Would you ask him to sit first?” Tell the person they can pet your dog and give them the treat as long as your dog follows the rules. 

Although jumping up is irritating, it is a behavior that can quickly be turned around. Doodles are smart; they'll quickly catch on to what works and what doesn't! A little time and patience is all that’s necessary to change your pet from a crazy lunatic into a calm, well-mannered dog. 

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About the author

Brenda is an artist and photographer from a small town in southern Kentucky. She enjoys working as a designer and content creator for Troyer Websites Of Texas, a full-service digital marketing company.

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