How To Stop Your Dog Jumping On People

Dogs jumping up is highly common, and most of you at some point will encounter this behaviour in one way or another, either as an owner or as a visitor. The type of jumping I want to address here is jumping up at visitors because statistically its the most common aspect of this problem.

The reason dogs jump up at visitors is due to what we, as owners and visitors, have accidentally trained them to do. Because of the early foundations taught to the dog usually by accident.

When you have an 8 week old ball of fluff, everybody wants to interact with it, and they don’t at all mind if they jump on you. They barely reach your knees after all and most people find it super cute.

They encourage excitement, jumping, licking, mouthing, barking, you name it, as this early age because as a puppy we deem this acceptable. They encourage the very behaviour you now want to stop.

All of a sudden, that ball of fluff is a 55kg mastiff and it’s no longer cute, the behaviour is labeled as bad. Yet, for the first few months or year of your dogs life this behaviour was encouraged and rewarded with affection. Doing a sudden 180 on this can be very confusing to any dog. Imagine if you’d been taught to always use your manners as a kid, been praised for using them, and then one day without warning you get punished and scolded for using them. You’d be left pretty confused wouldn’t you.

If you haven’t yet got a dog then don’t let people do this to your puppy and CERTAINLY don’t do this yourself. After all, you’re the person who will be seeing and greeting this dog the most. If your dog has never been taught to jump and get over excited, they will likely never offer the behaviour. If they do, a firm ‘NO!’ from owner and guest will be sure to snuff it out and ensure it doesn’t become a habit that they repeat.

If you have a puppy, or a dog with this behaviour, or you want to prevent it from happening, then these are your steps:

1. Ensure EVERY single person that enters the house, be it yourself, friends, family, the pizza guy or the mailman completely ignore (no touch, talk or eye contact) the dog when arriving.

2. Wait until they’re calm for at least a minute before acknowledging them. When they’ve been calm for a minute (we wait this long to ensure they completely calm and not just faking it) we can greet them calmly. Don’t spoil their calmness by hyping them up.

3. Once the in your dog(s) excitement has dispersed from this context/setting, you can start to teach a solid ‘place’ command to have your dog sit/lay in one spot while people come to the door. Doing this gives them another opportunity to be rewarded for a behaviour that isn’t jumping.

Have some patience with your dog. As I mentioned above, you rewarded this behaviour for the first portion of your life and have now decided to take a firm opposing stance on it. it’s confusing for them but they will get it. Just take your time, persist and don’t give up halfway through and label this as bad advice. I teach this sort of thing on a daily basis and the system does work, you’ve just got to commit to it.