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How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on People

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How to stop a dog jumping up on people
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Learning how to stop a dog from jumping on people is quite simple; it just takes a little patience.

In this article, we look at three ways that you can successfully train your dog not to jump up.

But before we get into that, let’s look at why dogs jump up to greet people.

Jumping up to greet people is a natural and intuitive habit for dogs.

They see themselves as part of the pack, and because they greet other dogs nose-to-nose, they instinctively want to greet humans in the same way.

You may have noticed that when a dog greets a child, they tend to go straight for the face for a quick sniff and ‘nose-to-nose’ to say “hello.”

Because the face of the child is at almost the same level as the dog, there is no need for the dog to jump up.

The trouble is most parents instinctively try to protect their child scaring the dog and child in the process.

Dogs jumping up to greet humans
is a natural and instinctive behavior

The problem with dogs jumping up to greet visitors, or you and your family members, when they arrive home is that it can be, at best annoying and at worst dangerous.

Annoying because their enthusiastic welcome can be off-putting to visitors who are not used to it, and at worst because:

  • the dog’s paws and claws can damage clothing, scratch and draw blood
  • their slobber is usually not welcome
  • bigger dogs can knock people over and cause injury
  • even small dogs jumping up can cause bruising
  • a pregnant woman and the unborn child are potentially at risk

Overall it’s not a very nice experience to have a dog jump up to greet you and should be discouraged.

How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on People

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The “How” in How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on People is more to do with YOUR behavior than your dog. And by YOUR I mean all those in your household.

Before we begin teaching you how to stop a dog jumping on people it will help if you have:

  • Taught your dog The Sit and command
  • Your dog is crate trained
  • Explained to your family the part they have to play
  • You have the patience of a saint (more than one)

The good thing is that you don’t need to buy anything, all it takes is patience and perseverance. It will also require the participation of the entire household, because every member of your family needs to know and understand what is needed.

You will only confuse your dog if for example you and your wife follow through on the behavior modification to stop your dog jumping up, but your children actively encourage it – boys particularly like to encourage dogs to jump up and have a bit of a hug and wrestle, bear hug, type greeting.

What you need to teach your dog is that they can jump up, but only if and when invited to do so. More on this later.

Okay, so how do you stop a dog jumping up. I mentioned above that it is more about YOUR behavior than your dog. However, your visitors also have a part to play in teaching your dog not to jump up.

The First Step Is to Modify YOUR Behavior

When you greet your dog after being away from home, keep your greeting low-key. Resist the temptation to greet your dog with enthusiastic hugs and a bit of rough and tumble as they jump up to greet you.

Greeting your dog with enthusiasm will be matched by your dog’s enthusiastic behavior, and they think that it’s okay to jump up. If you are calm, your dog will be calm.

So the first tip is to stay calm. If your dog jumps up on you when you arrive home, ignore him. Don’t greet him, talk to him or touch him in any way. Turn around and walk back out the door.

You are going to need patience, lots of it, because the quickest way to stop your dog jumping up on you is to exit and re-enter the house until your dog stops jumping up.

Don’t be too worried about what your neighbors might think about you walking in and out of the house a dozen or so times. It’s a small price to pay to teach your dog not to jump up when you get home.

I know it sounds tedious, it is, but it usually only takes a few days before your dog learns that jumping up is not an acceptable behavior.

And remember that dogs have an inherent desire to please the master. They usually figure out that the only way to get your attention – hugs, kisses, and praise – is to keep all four paws on the ground.

Once you can re-enter the house and your dog doesn’t try to jump up on you, give the command to sit. Of course, it helps if you have already taught your dog to sit.

Once your dog is sitting calmly, give him the biggest greeting you can – hugs, kisses, words of praise. Let him know that they have done well.

There is More Than One Way to Skin A Cat

Or so the saying goes – and probably not that PC these days either 🙂

An alternative method to train your dog not to jump up on you when you get home is to have a bag of doggy treats in your pocket so that you have a treat on hand.

When you walk through the door immediately give the sit command and show them you have treats. If your dog sits, reward them with a treat. If they don’t sit, repeat the command and show the treats.

If your dog tries to jump up, turn and walk away and completely ignore them. Don’t say a word and do not look at them. As soon as your dog stops jumping up, turn and reward him and ask him to sit.

Once he is sitting calmly with all four paws on the ground, praise him and give him the attention he has been seeking – hugs, kisses pats, and cuddles.

Do this every time you come home until your dog has learned not to jump up.

Although this method may seem to be an easier method than the first, it’s not that reliable. It does work most of the time, and can take longer because the dog isn’t necessarily learning not to jump up when people arrive.

One Thing That You Should Never Do

One thing that you should never do if your dog jumps up.
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There is one thing that you should never do if your dog jumps up – touch! Which also brings us to a third way to stop your dog jumping up.

Do Not Touch Your Dog, if they jump up, this includes pushing them away. Your dog will interpret the touch as approval and will be encouraged to do it again to get what they want.

What you can do instead, is stand tall, cross your arms and look away from your dog. Look up and away, at a bookcase, the top of the stairs or to the sky. Anywhere but your dog’s direction.

When your dog stops jumping, lower your arms. If your dog starts to jump, raise your arms. When your dog stops jumping, lower your arms. Do this until you can lower your arms and your dog does not jump up.

When this happens, take a step – any direction, it does not matter which. If your dog jumps up, stop and cross the arms. Rinse and repeat as they say.

Eventually, your dog will realize that you will only interact with them when they are not jumping.

So Far So Good

Now you need to be consistent as does EVERY member of your household. They each need to go through this routine until your dog has learned not to jump up on anyone.

If you are not consistent, your dog will learn that it’s okay to jump up on some people and not others. But they won’t know who or when that applies.

Does Your Dog Try to Jump On You When You’re Sitting
The process is much the same as above if your dog tries to jump up on you when you are sitting.

If your dog tries to jump on you when you are sitting, you need to stand up and ignore your dog. Turn away from your dog until s/he is calm and has all four paws on the ground.

Once they have done this, it is time to reward your dog. You are teaching your dog that s/he won’t get attention until s/he is calm with all four paws on the ground.

Stop a Dog From Jumping On Guests

You will need to employ the help of a close friend for this next step – it works best with someone your dogs knows already and likes.

Talk to your friend about what you are about to do so that they understand their role. Then ask your friend to wait outside and only enter on an agreed signal or time.

Give your dog the sit command before your friend enters the room. If your dog stands up when your friend comes into the room, your friend should turn and walk away.

Once again give your dog the Sit command. When your dog is seated and remains seated, reward him with verbal praise and a treat.

You will need to do this many times until your dog has learned not to jump up on visitors. When you think your dog has learned not to jump up on your “Training friend” ask someone else to do the same exercise and see how your dog responds to a new visitor.

Time to Celebrate: Invite Some Friends Around

Once you are comfortable that your dog has learned not to jump up on people, test him out. Invite some friends around for a celebration. Afterall it is worth celebrating.

Tell them in advance that when they arrive, they should remain calm. Don’t crouch down and encourage an enthusiastic welcome. To do so will only encourage your dog to get excited, and excited dogs usually forget their training.

If you find that your dog does get excited and starts to jump up on your visitors take him to another room, put them in their crate or put a leash on until they calm down.

The key to training a dog to not jump up on people is patience. Don’t try to rush it; it takes time. It is also vital that you remain calm, yelling in a deep voice at your dog is not going to help the situation.

There’s a Stanger at The Door

So that’s delt to friends and family but what about strangers that come knocking at the door.

When your dog sounds the alarm that there is someone at the door, praise them and then give the sit command or instruct them to their crate (or bed) if they have learned this command.

Only once they have obeyed your command open the door. If your dog leaves the crate or stands up repeat your command. Remember to reward your dog verbally or with a treat to reinforce and reward good behavior.

Once your dog is calm, you can invite him over to greet your visitor – tell your visitor that your dog is still in training and how your visitor should behavior around greeting your dog.

It’s Okay; I Love Dogs, Let Them Be!

The challenge you will face with strangers and well-meaning friends and family is that some will say “it’s okay, I love dogs, let them be.”

Which is fine, but it doesn’t help if your dog is still learning not to jump up on people. In this situation, your dog will get confused – he’ll be thinking if it’s okay to jump on this person, then it must be okay on others.

When you find yourself in this situation, remove your dog. If your dog knows the command to go to bed or crate, (or similar) then use it. Or get their leash and tie them up, out of the way.

If your quest won’t play by your house rules when it comes to training your dog, you are better to remove the dog. But be sure to reward your dog for going to their bed/crate to reinforce that they have done good.

Having Trouble Calming Your Dog Down?

If you’d like to learn how to calm your dog down so that they obey your commands, even when all hell is breaking loose, then watch this video: Five Step-by-Step Exercises to Calm Your Dog

Teach Your Dog to Do the Exact Opposite

Okay, so hopefully you now know how to stop a dog from jumping up on people. However, there may come a time when you do want your dog to jump up – the exact opposite of what you have just taught your dog.

Teaching your dog to jump up on people, in some ways, is more natural than teaching them not to. But only do it when they have learned not to jump up on people, otherwise, you will confuse your dog and you will get frustrated.

In much the same way as you teach your dog any new trick or behavior, it requires a little patience and lots of dog treats. And need I remind you that you also need to be consistent.

Use a command that suites you and your dog, something like “Up” or tap your leg or chest, or a combination of both. Reward your dog when he obeys this command.

The aim of this exercise is to teach your dog that they can only jump up on command and at no other time.

Good luck, and please let us know if this article helped you, or if we can improve it in anyway.

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