Understand the dog's behavior. In a dog's world, it is instinctual to greet another dog by coming nose-to-nose with them. This allows them to sniff each other's faces and become acquainted with the other dog's scent. Of course, your nose is a bit higher to reach so it is only natural that your dog will jump up to get closer to your face when greeting you. This can be quite annoying and unnecessary, but fortunately, the habit can be broken.
Teach your puppy a conflicting behavior such as “fetch your ball.” She can’t jump up if she’s running to bring you her ball or favorite toy. Just the name of a special game or toy—“go get your bear!”—can change the dog’s focus and redirect the behavior long enough for you to evade the jumping. With enough repetition, your puppy will begin to associate your home-coming with “go fetch” instead of jumping up.
Jumping up seems cute when your puppy is a little guy, but when he grows into an adolescent, jumping on people can become more than rude. These juvenile delinquent dogs haven’t learned how to control their excitement and can bruise, scratch or knockdown owners when they launch themselves and plow into you with their paws and claws. With small dogs and young pups, these tips to stop jumping up can work.
Other commands can be substituted for ‘sit’ if you prefer, such as ‘stay’ or ‘down.’ However, if your dog simply gets too excited to execute these commands properly (as is often the case, especially with puppies) try diverting their attention elsewhere. Ask them to go find their ball, or a favorite toy, as a way to distract them and expend some energy. And, as always, reward the good behavior with praise.
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.
I remember going to a dog park where a little 4-month-old Boxer puppy ran around jumping on everyone. The dog was not heavy enough to knock most of the adults down. However, it left everyone with muddy pants and the dog was big enough to knock over small children. The owner did nothing to stop the jumping puppy. After all, it was just a small pup. Everyone around her was pretty annoyed at the muddy prints the dog was leaving all over their clothes. That is an owner who will have a problem with her dog jumping on people when it gets older.