Dog Jumping Up

Most puppies are so cute (and so short) that we allow them to jump up on us. By the time they reach adulthood, however, jumping up to say hello can be unpleasant or even dangerous.

Stop dog from jumping on people

A dog who jumps up on people to greet them most likely does it because he gets attention for it. Pushing the dog away and/or shouting at him often seems like part of the game to the dog. It is attention, after all. Of course, some people actually enjoy and encourage the jumping up, by laughing and playing with the dog when he does it. It’s important to ask these people not to encourage the dog to jump up, as hard as it may be for them. Remind them that everyone has to play a part in teaching the dog good manners.

Overexcited dog greeting

The best way to teach a dog to stop jumping up is to teach and practice proper greetings. Dogs can easily learn to sit every time they greet a person, even when they are very happy to see that person. When they are trained to associate meeting a person with a sit cue and a treat, soon they will sit and wait for a treat without a cue.

Steps to train a dog not to jump up

The first step is to prevent the dog from “rehearsing” the jumping-up behavior, so that he doesn’t get a chance to receive any kind of attention for it. Whenever you have guests coming to your home, keep the dog in a separate room, behind a gate or in an exercise pen when the guests enter. Confining the dog will also spare your visitors from enduring the jumping-up behavior.

The next step is to teach your dog the sit cue: Hold a treat in front of the dog’s nose, just out of the dog’s reach. Raise the treat toward the top of the dog’s head. When his head follows the treat up, his rear end will go down. When the dog’s rear hits the floor, use a marker (click a clicker or say a word like “yes”), give the dog the treat and praise him. If the dog jumps up rather than sits, you are holding the treat too high. If the dog backs up, try teaching the cue with a wall behind the dog.

When your dog is consistently sitting for a treat, start practicing with yourself as the visitor. Place a mat or dog bed inside the entryway of your house, on the spot where the dog will be situated when the door opens. (Since many entryways are tile or wood, a dog will be more willing to sit or lie on something more comfortable and less slippery.) Place a treat jar outside your door.

Go outside, pick up a treat and, as you enter the house, ask the dog to sit. Use your body to position the dog on the mat as you walk in. Do not give the treat or praise until the dog sits. You may need to be patient, since this is the greeting scenario that the dog has trouble with. As always, avoid using an angry tone if your dog doesn’t do what you want. Just say “sit” once and wait. If necessary, lure the dog into a sit with the treat.

If you have practiced the sit cue enough before you start practicing as the visitor, your dog will eventually sit in the greeting situation. If he doesn’t, practice some more without exiting and entering, and use higher-value (more enticing) treats. When he is consistently sitting for a treat, try the exit-and-entry routine again.

When your dog is greeting you with a good sit as you open the door, you can start adding a knock or ring of the doorbell. When she is doing well with that, practice with friends. Have friends come to the door, knock and ask for a sit as they enter. Leave the treat jar outside the door so that everyone who enters can be prepared to reward your dog for a polite greeting.

Rewarding a dog with treats

While he is learning, it’s important to reward the dog with food for polite greetings every time. After lots of practice and success, you can start using praise only sometimes, but continue to use food frequently enough to maintain the polite greetings.

In addition, when you start practicing with new people, use the gate or exercise pen as necessary to prevent the jumping-up behavior. Reward the dog when he sits behind the barrier. After he is sitting consistently, you can stop using the barrier, but if your dog ever shows any lapses in politeness, back up in your training.

The last step is to take it on the road, getting your dog to greet other people politely when leashed and on walks, when visiting other people’s homes and otherwise out in the world. If someone wants to meet your dog, ask the person not to approach him unless he is in a sit. If necessary, lure your dog into a sit with a treat.

Finally, remember to reward the sit with a treat every time while the dog is learning. You want to make it as easy as possible for him to succeed.

Read a step-by-step training plan for teaching your dog to sit.