How to Stop your Dog from Jumping on Visitors
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.
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.
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.
— SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) October 5, 2015