Dog Jumping on People?
Here is How to Discourage This Behavior

In the past, a dog jumping on people was considered a dominant behavior from a dog attempting to rule the world. Nowadays, a better understanding of the way dogs interact with each other and humans has brought things back into perspective.

Most dogs love to jump. And similar to many other problem dog behaviors, dog jumping starts in puppyhood.

Jumping on people, however, is a behavior that should ideally be discouraged starting when the puppy is only a few months old and not 100 pounds later!

This is not a difficult behavior to get rid of, if you understand what causes dog jumping in the first place.

This article will help you learn effective strategies to stop your puppy or dog jumping on people in an easy, non-confrontational way.

Understanding Jumping Behaviors in Dogs

If you watch puppies and small dogs, you will notice how they love to jump up enthusiastically to say hello to their fellow owners. But did you ever wonder why dog jumping on people behaviors are so common?

When dogs meet, they tend to initially sniff each other under their tails. If both are friendly, they may then proceed to sniffing each other's faces and even start playing. Because we are humans, dogs fortunately skip the "anogenital investigation" part and go straight to jumping up, possibly followed by some enthusiastic facial licking.

Puppies start the behavior of jumping on people at an early age. Most likely, dog owners reward such jumping up behavior by petting the puppy and talking to the puppy in an enthusiastic way.

Have you ever slapped your thighs while encouraging your dog to run to you and saying something like "Here, boy (or girl)! Come to…" and then stretching your arms in anticipation of catching him or her? With this encouragement and innate love of jumping, I would be surprised if our dogs did not jump up at us as much as they do!

Because dogs are opportunistic beings which tend to repeat behaviors that are rewarded, the dog jumping on people behavior will increase in intensity. And before owners realize it, they end up with a large, heavy dog leaving muddy paw prints on everybody's clothes!

Dog Jumping on People

The Ideal Jumping on People Candidate

Because of their eagerness to come close to their humans, puppies are number one candidates when it comes to jumping on people. But large dogs that have received little or no training on how to stop jumping are not that far behind. As you can see, any puppy or dog in good health is a candidate!

Many dogs with a jumping habit are high-energy, happy dogs eager to throw a party for the owner's arrival. These enthusiastic "dog jumping on people greetings" are often also reserved to other friends and guests.

While some dog owners are accepting of this dog jumping on people behavior, it is also true that guests and the occasional pedestrian may not be too happy of being greeted in such a boisterous way. Especially if the dog leaves paw prints all over their expensive business suits!

But dogs don't jump only on people. Some dogs jump over fences, furniture and other barriers. Follow these stop dog jumping fence to escape instructions for details.

How to Stop Dog Jumping on People Behaviors

Stopping a dog from jumping on people does not exclusively depend on training the dog. Indeed, for the most part it involves training the people interacting with the dog.

What usually happens when our dog jumps up at us? We say something like "Stop it, enough already, down boy…". Sometimes, we may pet him.  If he is lucky, he may even sneak in couple of quick licks while you are trying to get him down.

All this attention is very rewarding and encourages even more dog jumping in the future. Frankly, if I were a dog and getting all this attention, I would be jumping at my owner every chance I had!

As a general rule, the more the dog is allowed to jump on people and guests, the more the behavior will repeat in the future. The best way to stop your dog from jumping on people is to stop rewarding his jumping. For this approach to work, it is imperative that all people interacting with the dog abide to the following rules:

  1. No more petting, talking or looking at the dog when it jumps.
  2. No more scolding the dog for jumping. Some dogs see this as a form of attention.
  3. No pushing, kicking or stepping on paws to stop the jumping behavior. These are outdated approaches that may stimulate defensive dog and puppy aggression.

Tips for Stopping Dog Jumping

So what to do to stop a puppy from jumping up? The best way to handle this is by ignoring him.

Try to immediately cross your arms and become as boring as a pole, possibly turning your back to your dog. Once the dog gives up jumping, you may then turn around and if your dog is calm enough, you may ask for a "sit" (visit training your dog to sit for step-by-step instructions). If your dog complies, then pet him calmly while sitting nicely.

If the dog continues to jump all over you, cross your arms and turn around again. If he still persists in jumping up at your back, leave the room and continue training once he is calmer.


Training your puppy or dog to stop jumping to people takes time, especially if this behavior has been allowed to happen for a very long time. It helps to enlist a group of volunteers to help your dog understand the new rules being implemented. Have all the volunteers adhere to your "no jumping policy".

Remember, the dog gets attention only when all four paws are on the floor. Expect the dog jumping on people behavior to return every now and then; this is a normal part of the behavior extinction process that will eventually stop if you are persistent.

Here is another technique you may find helpful…

Take your dog's favorite treat and let him see and smell it. Slowly raise your hand above your shoulders. Is your dog jumping up trying to get the treat? Good, let him jump as much as he wishes, but don't give him the treat just yet.

Offer him the treat only when all his paws are on the floor and he is no longer jumping up. Pet him. Tell him how good he is. You can't imagine how quickly your puppy will learn from this exercise!

Finally, keep your greetings very low key. When you return home and your dog jumps up at you, just ignore him. Greet your spouse or children. Only then turn your attention to your dog. By this time, he is not as excited as he was just a couple of minutes ago when you came in and is less likely to jump at you.

Here is a brief video that talks about some of the things we just covered in this article...

Final Thoughts...

While jumping may look like a cute behavior in puppies and small dogs, it is important to realize that jumping can also create problems and even be dangerous at times. Small children can be easily knocked down, items can be broken and people may not wish to have their clothes ruined by muddy paws.

Dog owners must also consider that a jumping dog can cause a lawsuit to happen in today's litigious society.

Teaching a dog jumping on people an alternative behavior is an important part of your dog's training on how to become a great member of society.

Related Articles

You may also wish to explore the following articles:

Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

For more advice on how to prevent dog jumping, I highly recommend you read and follow this dog training guide. You'll find lots of information on dealing with many behavioral problems, including jumping.


Find this article interesting? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and as always, your +1's, Shares, Facebook likes and retweets are appreciated.



Search this site or click here to search the Web


Dog Jumping » People to Puppy Behavior

Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Professionals Member#: 73641
Puppy Rescue Adoption in your Area
Puppy Rescue Adoption in your Area

Featured Article

Puppy Training

Your Guide to Dog Teeth Cleaning and Care

"At home dog teeth cleaning and care will keep your dog's teeth healthy. It will also minimize or even eliminate cleanings done by a vet..."
...continue reading