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?
Dogs like and need consistency, so if you are not allowing your dog to jump on you, everyone in the family and everyone who greets the dog must do the same. You, as an owner, must make sure this happens. It will only confuse a dog if you allow them to jump on some people who say they do not mind, and tell him not to jump on others. Once you decide you do not wish your dog to jump on people you must apply this to everyone at all times unless you give the dog a command to jump. A dog should never jump on a human of its own free will.
An anxious or playful pup may leap high quickly and suddenly “poke” at your face with their nose. That can be triggered by leaning over the top of them especially when they’re in a high-arousal situation like a homecoming or around other dogs. It may be a way for stressed pups to relieve their anxiety, so be aware of situations that cause these behaviors. Dogs control each others' movement with their body language. Think how a Border Collie makes sheep move just by getting close. You can stop your pup’s jumps by stepping close to him just before he leaps. Cross your arms and step into the pup’s personal space before he crouches to leap.
Liz London is a certified dog trainer through the Certifying Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) & the Karen Pryor Academy (Dog Trainer Foundations Certification) with regular continuing education courses from the top animal trainers from all over the world. She has trained zoo animals, search & rescue canines, gundogs, and helped people raise happy, healthy, and well-behaved canine companions for over ten years.
You shouldn’t stop this type of jumping. You need to diagnose your dog's issue and remedy that. If your dog is just stressed being in a new situation, you should calmly get them off of you, offer them a treat to calm them down, and have them sit politely beside you until their stress level has subsided (or take them somewhere else so that they can calm down if it is taking a while for them to calm down.) But most of all, please do not just ignore this behavior change.
If you have ever seen two dogs when they meet, they greet each other face to face, unless there is a massive size disparity. So, why are we surprised when that is how a dog wants to greet us? You come home from work and let your dog out, and they are excited to see you and excited to show you how much they have missed you. So they jump up on you to get closer and give you some love.
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.
Homecomings and departures are a prime time for jumping up because puppies want to greet you or stop you from leaving. Turning your back on some of these dogs revs them up even more, so instead, try ignoring the bad behavior. “Ignore” means you make no eye contact, say nothing and stand still like a zombie offering no reaction to silly puppy behavior.
Puppies in human households try to lick the weird, flat, usually bald body part we have instead of a muzzle. When a cute little puppy jumps up to lick face, many people can only say “Awwww!” Hey presto! Jumping up has been rewarded. The puppy’s natural inclination is now a learned behavior. Too bad for the dog when he’s nine months old, bigger and less cute, muddying the pinstripes and knocking Granny to the ground.