Stop Jumping! How to Train Your Dog Not to Jump on People

How to Train Your Dog Not to Jump on People

Dogs jumping up on people is a common problem faced by pet owners. While it may seem cute when puppies do it, jumping can be dangerous and unwanted behavior as your dog grows.

Fortunately, you can curb this behavior by training your dog to keep all four paws on the floor when greeting people. In this article, we will talk and explore about why dogs jump up on people, and how to train your dog from jumping on people.

With positive reinforcement and consistency, you can teach even an excited jumper to sit or lay down calmly when people approach.

Why Dogs Jump Up on People

Before learning how to stop the behavior, it’s helpful to understand why dogs jump in the first place. Possible reasons include:

  • Excitement and greeting – Dogs jump when happy and eager to say hi. It’s their way of getting closer to your face.
  • Attention seeking – Jumping gets a reaction from people which rewards the behavior.
  • Lack of training – The dog hasn’t been taught that jumping is unacceptable.
  • Improper encouragement – Some owners inadvertently reinforce jumping by petting or interacting with the dog when it jumps.

Risks of Dog Jumping

While jumping may not seem like a big deal, it can lead to several issues:

  • Knocking people over – Jumping dogs can knock over children, elderly, disabled or unsteady people, leading to injuries.
  • Dirty clothes – A muddy dog can leave dirt and grime on clothing and furniture.
  • Scratches – Dog paws or nails may scratch bare skin and leave marks.
  • Fear and anxiety – Some people are afraid of dogs and jumping can increase anxiety.
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For these reasons, it’s best to curb jumping behavior when your dog is still a puppy or as soon as you notice it developing. The sooner you start training, the quicker you’ll see results.

How to Train Your Dog Not to Jump

Training a dog not to jump takes repetition and consistency. With the right techniques and commitment to reinforcing good behavior, you can teach your dog to keep all four paws on the floor when greeting people.

Ignore Your Dog When It Jumps

The first step is to completely ignore your dog when it jumps on you. This means:

  • No eye contact
  • No physical touch
  • No verbal interaction

By removing all attention, you eliminate the reward your dog gets from jumping. Once it realizes jumping no longer brings a reaction, it will be less inclined to keep doing it.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It takes practice not to automatically pet or talk to your dog when it’s excited to see you. But be patient and remain consistent with ignoring until your dog sits or stands with calm body language.

Reward on the Floor

The next step is to reward and praise your dog for having all four paws on the floor. Use high-value treats or a favorite toy when your dog remains seated and doesn’t jump. Mark and reward this good behavior often so your dog associates having four on the floor with positive reinforcement.

Some tips for rewarding four on the floor:

  • Reward immediately after your dog sits or stands calmly without jumping. Timing is key so it associates the reward with the proper behavior.
  • Use a clicker or verbal marker like “yes!” to precisely mark the moment your dog has four paws down. Then follow with a treat reward.
  • Slowly increase the time between the desired behavior and the click/reward. This builds your dog’s patience in waiting for the treat.
  • Practice rewarding calm greetings in various settings with different people – not just at home with family members. Dogs need to learn to generalize training.
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Teach an Alternate Behavior

In addition to rewarding four on the floor, teach your dog an incompatible behavior to replace jumping, such as:

  • Sit – Have your dog sit immediately when people approach and reward it.
  • Down – Train a solid “down” cue so your dog lays down when visitors arrive.
  • Go to mat – Teach your dog to go relax on a designated mat or bed when guests enter your home. Reward laying quietly on the mat.

Having an alternate behavior prevents your dog from even thinking about jumping up since it’s focused on something else. Be consistent in requesting the alternate behavior when people come over until it becomes a set habit.

Use Leashes and Gates

During the training process, you can use leashes and baby gates to prevent opportunities for your dog to practice unwanted jumping.

Put your dog on a leash when guests arrive so you can easily control it. Reward sitting or laying down with calm energy and discourage any attempts to jump.

Use baby gates to block access when visitors first enter your home. After a few minutes of ignoring your dog’s excited energy, invite it to greet properly from behind the gate before removing any barrier.

Both techniques limit your dog’s ability to reward itself by jumping on people. With less opportunities to practice bad habits, you have a better chance of replacing jumping with the trained alternate behavior.

Be Consistent!

Just like any other training, teaching your dog not to jump requires practice and consistency from the entire family. Everyone must ignore jumping, reward four paws on the floor, and request the alternate behavior each time.

With persistence and consistency, your dog will learn that jumping no longer achieves the result it wants. Instead, it will choose to sit or lie down calmly for attention and rewards.

Additional Tips

Don’t Pet Your Dog When They Are Jumping

It can be tempting to give your dog affection when it jumps up out of excitement. But any attention, even scolding, can reinforce the behavior.

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Be sure that family and friends don’t pet, talk to, or even look at your dog while it has front paws off the ground. Wait until all four paws are on the floor before engaging.

Calm Your Dog Down Before Greeting Them

Some dogs are so excited when you return home that they won’t control themselves enough to refrain from jumping. Spend a few minutes calming your dog before reuniting.

For example, have it sit and shake a paw to redirect its energy. Or practice obedience commands it knows well so your dog is focused and under control when you finally greet it.

Let Guests Know How to Interact With Your Dog

Coach your visitors on the best way to greet your dog without encouraging jumping. Teach them to avoid direct eye contact, kneeling down to your dog’s level, and petting it while it jumps.

Have them turn away from your dog when it jumps and only reward with attention once it calms down. The more consistent everyone is, the faster your training will progress.

Teach Children Not to Jump on Your Dog

Kids get excited around dogs and may want to hug them or get in their face. Teach children in your home not to run directly up to your dog, scream in its ear, or wrap their arms around its neck.

Supervise playtime and show them how to interact appropriately by waiting until your dog sits calmly before petting gently.

Supervise Your Dog Around Elderly or Disabled People

Closely supervise greetings when your dog is around the elderly, disabled, or anyone not steady on their feet. Be ready to intervene and request an alternate behavior if your dog seems ready to jump.

Keep your dog leashed or behind a baby gate when greeting unsteady visitors to avoid any chance of accidentally knocking them over.

Conclusion:

By being consistent in rewarding four-paw greetings and ignoring attention-seeking jumps, you can teach your dog to control its excitement. While it takes time and commitment from the entire family, training a dog not to jump ultimately creates a safer, calmer environment when welcoming guests into your home.

With persistence and praise for good manners, your dog will soon stop its jumping habit for good. Learn here more about dog training tips and guides.