How to Stop your Dog from Jumping on Visitors

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Dear Labby_oldDear Labby,
My daughter has a wonderful pup, about a year old who is a sweet thing, but has the bad habit of jumping on people. It was fine when she was a pup, but now she weighs 50+ LBS and I worry she is going to knock me, or one of the kids over and hurt someone.
I’m not there everyday, so I can’t spend time training her – but I need some tips to give my daughter so that she can work with her so we can get this under control.
Worried Mom

Dear Mom,
This is a very common behavior, especially in young active dogs. Typically when visitors come to the house, they get excited and want to greet you with a kiss, so jumping up to give you a lick or two or twenty is their natural instinct. It’s not really a behavior you want as not all visitors want a dog jumping up on them ruining their clothes or licking their face. More importantly, dogs need to learn proper manners – people wouldn’t let their children do that to visitors, so why would they let their dogs?
Teaching your dog proper greeting manners does take some effort, but it’s a very easy behavior to teach, especially if your dog already has a good command of “sit” and “stay”.
I’ve included a couple of videos that I think provide good instructions on getting the behavior you want, the hard part is committing to the time required to teach your dog the behavior desired. Realize that dogs do everything based on risk and reward…how do I get the reward I want – in this case a pet and welcome from that new person. Is it worth getting dirty feet on them, or knocking them over? To a dog, YES – they get the reward and no risk. Unacceptable.
To teach your dog not to jump, or anything really, you want to withold the reward until you get the behavior you want. In this case, no greeting until the dog keeps four paws on the ground or stays in a sit, whichever behavior you want.
stop dog from jumping

Here’s the basic steps to train that behavior:

  • Leash your dog.
  • Put your dog into a sit or down next to you while you hold his leash
  • Have the visitor approach your dog.
  • If your dog breaks the sit, the visitor should immediately and quickly move back away from your dog. Since the dog is leashed, they cannot follow the visitor – so no reward.
  • Rinse and repeat those steps until your dog learns that all four paws need to be on the ground before he is going to be rewarded with a greeting.
      As with training any behavior, you need to do it often and consistently. The dog is not going to learn in one lesson, so don’t expect it.
      More importantly, EVERY INTERACTION the dog has in greeting people must follow the same steps or the dog will be confused as to what is expected. So it won’t work if the dog is allowed to jump on some people and not others – how are they supposed to know? You must be consistent.
      Some people like to have their dog jump up to give them a kiss, so they don’t want to train them not to jump. Look, dogs aren’t dumb – they know the difference between being invited to do something and not being allowed to do something. Just as you can train the dog to sit to greet visitors, you can also train them to jump up ON COMMAND. They should keep their feet on the ground until invited to give you a kiss – so don’t use that as an excuse not to keep your dog from jumping on visitors.
      Be sure and check out the videos below – they will give you some added tips. Good Luck.



      Additional Readings:

      Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People
      How to Stop a Dog From Jumping Up
      How to Stop Your Dog Jumping on Guests



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  1. Committing to teaching them, yes. Taking time with them and teaching them what we expect makes for a happier dog and happier parents 🙂
    Julie recently posted…Day in the LifeMy Profile

  2. we always work on that front :o) but sometimes our visitors cause the wild jumping with making a great fuss when they enter our crib, it’s better to give Easy a short hello than to clap in your hands and to call him with a falsetto voice :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog WALK YOUR DOGMy Profile

  3. We are pretty good at not jumping on folks, but we do like the surprise effect. We sit nicely, get petted and just as the “victim” leans way down, we jump and give a big kiss. It happens mainly with strangers. Mom sees it coming in our eyes and can sometimes stop it. Katie used to jump on people once and a while, but only certain types of people and it was dangerous with her 80 lbs.
    Emma recently posted…A Super Long Adventure Walk #DogWalkingWeekMy Profile

  4. Great tips for a common problem. Eko always wants to jump into guests arms, but luckily he’s learned to keep his paws on the floor.

  5. Both of the boys are put on their leashes when company visits until they settle down. It has helped so much with their jumping.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…BFTB NETWoof News for October 5, 2015 #DogNewsMy Profile

  6. Great post! The goldens don’t usually jump but they will shower them with kisses which is probably just as bad. lol Time to get back to training!
    Golden Daily Scoop recently posted…Monday Muddy MondayMy Profile

  7. When we had our Lab mix Maggie, she was a real jumper, and it didn’t help when certain people would allow her to do it, even when we told them we didn’t want them to! Eventually she got pretty good though.
    Sheba was a real jumper too but we worked with her for a long time and now she rarely ever jumps. You can sometimes see how hard she’s working to resist the urge to do it too! 🙂
    Jan K recently posted…Walk On! #DogWalkingWeek ContinuesMy Profile

  8. We had to work super hard at teaching my one boy Koda not to jump, he is great now, but definitely teaching them to sit when someone comes to the door is the way to go!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Walking Dogs For The Cause #CancerSucksMy Profile

  9. Ironic the graphic shows a Standard Poodle-just saying. At age 10, this is still an issue with my pogo-stick…aka Sam. None of the tips we’ve tried over the years have managed to make a difference but I’ll be showing those videos to Sam to see if he can finally grasp it. 😉
    Monika recently posted…Super ModelMy Profile

  10. There’s a dog that we run into every once in a while on the trail that is just so friendly he likes to show it by jumping up on me. He’s not a little dog either. I usually just turn to the side away from him so I don’t reinforce the behavior. I think I am too relieved that he isn’t jumping on Blueberry to really get irritated that he’s jumping on me. His owner eventually calls him away (it takes more than a few yells from her). I think I may be contributing to it though by talking to him. He usually is with 2 other dogs (non-jumpers, all 3 are off leash, btw) and because I know B is a little overwhelmed, I try to keep up the happy, mellow chatter to make sure things don’t get out of hand. Is there anything else I should be doing? Maybe just completely shut my yap and that dog will no longer want to jump?
    Blueberry’s human recently posted…On-the-go SnackingMy Profile

  11. PAWhaps it’s not the doodle – it’s the doodle mom! I’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to be effective. Jax is mimicking Harley now, so coming into the house is a circus gone wild. I will try AGAIN – but I’m telling you, I think it’s a conspiracy 🙂

  12. Great instructions! It is such a common problem for Labs, who assume that everyone adores them! (at least normal Labs do – Shyla is an exception).
    KB recently posted…Positive Training Blog Hop – The Power of PlayMy Profile

  13. Great advice! Preacher is doing well with this. When she is at the clinic I will be around the corner and I hear someone come back to visit her and I hear, awe…. I go what? What did she do and they say “she sat when I came up to her” so I think she is on the right track.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Preacher And The Pigeon For Some FitnessMy Profile

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