Behavior: Jumping On People

DogJumpingUp1Jumping up is a natural behavior for dogs. In fact, many things that we consider to be problem behaviors are quite natural in the canine world. The problem is that they undesirable in the home or when dogs live with humans. In the wild, puppies leap and jump to welcome a returning pack member. But a puppy or adult dog that leaps and jumps up can injure a child or older person, knock things out of your arms, scratch you, or get you muddy. It’s definitely an undesirable behavior in a pet.

The good news is that this common behavior has some easy solutions. As with most behaviors, it’s easier to stop if you don’t let your puppy begin jumping up on people. But even if you have an adult dog that jumps up, you can still teach him to keep his paws on the ground.

Here are some ways to teach your puppy or dog not to jump up on people.

Ignore your dog
. One of the basic reasons puppies and dogs jump up on people is for attention. If you totally ignore your dog when he jumps up on you, he won’t be getting the attention he wants and it discourages the behavior. This means that you have to completely ignore your dog: don’t look at him, speak to him, yell at him, or touch him. Simply turn your body away when he jumps on you.

It’s very important that everyone in your home, plus any visiting friends, also ignore your dog when he jumps up. Otherwise, your dog will be getting mixed signals and he will probably continue to jump up.

Teach your dog an alternate behavior. Another good way to teach your dog not to jump up on people is to teach them a more desirable behavior. For example, if your dog usually tries to jump on people when they come through the door, you can teach your dog to sit when someone arrives. Sitting is one of the easiest commands to teach a puppy or dog. After you teach your dog to sit, you can have a friend knock on the door or ring the doorbell. When this happens, give your dog the Sit command and let your friend in the house. Praise your dog and reward him for sitting while you greet your friend. You’re teaching your dog that this is the behavior that’s desired when someone arrives instead of jumping on them. Be sure to ask your friend to pet your dog to acknowledge him and give him a treat for sitting politely.

You can expand this desired behavior by teaching your dog to go to his sleeping spot or to another place when company arrives.

Hold your dog’s paws
. Another way to discourage your dog from jumping on people is by holding his paws when he jumps up. This method works best with large and extra large dogs because their paws are at chest level when they jump up on people. If you have one of these big dogs and they jump up on you, simply grab hold of their paws and keep them standing as long as possible. This makes the jumping behavior less fun for them. If you do this each time your dog jumps up, your dog should lose interest in jumping up on you.

Leash your dog. You can also use a leash to teach your dog not to jump up on people. Your dog should be wearing a collar and leash for this method. Have a friend knock on your door or ring the bell. When your dog runs to the door, you should step on the end of his leash. When your friend comes in the house and your dog starts to jump on him, the leash will pull him back toward the floor.

In addition to these methods, you should always praise your dog for greeting people calmly instead of jumping on them. Don’t worry if it takes some time for your dog to learn to stop jumping. This can be a hard behavior to stop but eventually you will teach your dog to stop jumping up on people.

Author: Carlotta Cooper
Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about dogs. She is a contributing editor for a national dog magazine. She has written two books about dogs: Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy (Back-To-Basics) and How to Listen to Your Dog: The Complete Guide to Communicating with Man’s Best Friend . She has five fun dogs of her own.