Unless given a command to jump, a dog should never be allowed to jump on humans. A dog that jumps on humans of its own free will is a dog that does not respect the person it is jumping on. Even those cute little toy dogs should not be allowed to jump on people. While you may think it is cute, it is not cute to everyone else. Not only is it annoying to most people to have someone else's dog jump on them, it can also be dangerous. A jumping dog can knock people over, muddy their clothes, put runners in nylons and scratch the skin.
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
When your puppy reaches adolescence, he may be unable to control his impulses and start to test limits (just like a human child). Adolescent jumping up can turn into “nose boinking” which can lead to broken glasses or even a bloody nose. Jumping up often combines with mouthing behavior where the pup bites and grabs your hands, clothing or even your derriere in a grabbing game of tag.
When he gives up and stands still (staring at you like you’ve gone crazy), THAT’s when you greet your dog and give him some love and attention. This is the reward he was looking for. Following these rules will ensure he learns that he will only earn that reward by not jumping (don’t overdo the high-pitched voice saying, “GOOD BOYYYYY” or it will just rile your dog up even more to start jumping again).
If a dog is stressed or afraid, their demeanor and typical behaviors will change. If you see this in your dog (or really any dog you know) you should step back and check on your dog. Are they hurt? Did a new dog come around they don’t know? Has the weather changed? Is it hot outside? When was the last time they had a chance to go outside to pee or poop?
To say hello, of course. Puppies are social creatures and happy and excited to greet just about anyone! Jumping, leaping and bouncing are ways your dog shows affection and receives attention. When a puppy is very young, we usually sit on the floor, let them wiggle into our laps and allow them to lick and nuzzle up close to our face. This is OK because we are down at their level.
When a dog jumps on a human of its own free will, it is not "greeting" the human, it is asserting its dominance over the human; it is the dog communicating that it is alpha and/or wishes to own/control the human. A subordinate would never dream of running over and jumping on the alpha dog of the pack. Space is respect and lower members of the pack respect the higher members. If your dog jumps on humans, it does not respect them. Note: when a young puppy jumps on humans it is sometimes its attempt to reach one's face. Puppies need to be taught not to jump up on humans as this behavior will manifest into other meanings as the puppy grows up into an adult dog.