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.
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.
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.
3. Because they have been rewarded for this behavior in the past, whether purposely or unknowingly. Some owners may, at one point or another, allowed the dog to jump on them or on their furniture, welcoming their dog's enthusiasm to see them. Other owners inadvertently reward their dogs jumping, simply by doing something good--such as walking or feeding the dog--right after the dog has jumped. Even if they told off the dog for jumping, by providing the dog with a walk or with food, they make the dog connect these positive actions, with a not-so-positive action: jumping! The dog sees thing in a very simple, linear fashion: if he jumps, he'll get to go for a walk--or even better, he'll get fed!
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.
4. Use the "Sit" command. This is one of the most basic, and important, commands. As such, if your dog is well trained, he will respond to the Sit command before even thinking to jump. If he does not respond well to the Sit command, then more training is necessary, as this is the foundation for dog obedience training. Train him until he responds to it in everyday situations, such as greeting and going for walks. The better he understands the Sit command, the much less likely he is to ever jump at all.
Also, it's your job to never let anyone else allow your puppy to jump up on them! They will say, "It's OK, she's just a puppy, I don't mind if she jumps on me". You must rush in and pull the puppy down immediately, put your pup in a sit, praise the puppy then scold the person ! Continue to hold the puppy in a sit and let the person greet the pup. Explain to them they can never allow the puppy to jump on them - the puppy must sit to be greeted. To stop the jumping up behavior in pups, I do as much people training as puppy training!
1. To assert dominance. Whether it's jumping on people or jumping on furniture, both instances illustrate a dog that wants to raise his station in life. By jumping on you or jumping on the couch, he's saying that he's the pack leader--something that you DON'T want to happen, as a dominant dog is much more difficult to train (and can become quite aggressive). In either case, you'll definitely want to institute the proper alpha dog training techniques, if you haven't already.
Before you answer the door and welcome guests, clip a leash on your canine, preferably to a front-clip harness or head halter, so that he can be controlled in a manner such that he cannot greet if he jumps. When your dog is calm, with all four paws on the floor — which may take up to a few minutes for more excitable dogs — allow him to approach guests and say hello. If he jumps, gently turn and lead him away; wait for calm behavior before approaching again. For particularly excitable dogs, another option is to remove the dog to a contained area before guests come in. An exercise pen or baby gate is adequate containment for many dogs. If you have an athletic or large dog that can easily scale a gate, use a crate or move him to a room with a closed door. Once your dog calms down, clip on his leash and allow him to come out and greet your guests.
Remember, Jumping up can be dangerous as well as annoying. Just as many owners are sued for their jumping dogs as their biting dogs. Young children and elderly people can easily be toppled over and seriously injured by exuberant, friendly dogs. Start now to teach your puppy not to jump up. Even little dogs can cause problems and injury to themselves and others when they jump up.
Many puppies don’t know their strength. When they jump up and you wave your arms and try to push them off, they may think it’s a game and grabs and bite harder. Tell them it hurts the same way another puppy would, with a YELP! Lay it on thick, overact and cry and sob like the pup has done major damage. Some tough dogs get the message using this. For the out-of-control grabby, ambush type of dog play, give him a taste of his own medicine and SCREAM (very loud but very short), and fall over “dead.” Don’t move and don’t say anything. Play dead for at least 15 to 20 seconds. The shock value may be enough to send a permanent message that such games stop all interaction, plus they hurt you—and playing dogs aren’t interested in hurting you and won’t want you to cry.
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 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?
Nobody likes to have a handful of groceries knocked out of their hand or get muddy paw prints on their new pants as they walk through their own front door, let alone someone else's front door. Jumping up can be a cute greeting when you have a small puppy or dog at home, but as time goes on, it can become quite annoying to you and your guests. Teaching your dog to calmly greet you and your guests, without jumping, will create a much more enjoyable environment to enter into after a long day at work or when receiving guests at home.
For pups that ambush you and bite your rear end while playing outside, hide a toy or two in the backyard and ask them to find the toy. Bad weather can give puppies cabin fever when they don’t have adequate time outside to run off the energy. Mental stimulation can wear them out, too. Show your puppy a favorite toy and then roll it up inside an old towel and knot it to make a puzzle. Encourage the pup to unravel and get the toy. You can even tie the first toy-in-the-towel inside a second one for more of a challenge to relieve boredom.
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.