Dog Training Tips: How to Stop Your Dog from Jumping on You and Your Guests

A dog jumping on their owners or visitors when they enter the home is a very common problem. The most probable causes of the jumping behavior are:

  • Attention
  • Excitement
  • Greeting
  • Play
  • Dominance/Territoriality – paws kept on the person, accompanied by a growl

If you suspect that the cause of jumping is dominance or territoriality contact a canine obedience professional. The below advice is provided to aid in the resolution for friendly jumping. If jumping behavior is reinforced it will never go away and may occur more often. Therefore attention should never be given to a dog that jumps, this means no eye contact, no verbal acknowledgement and no touch. A dog trained in the standard obedience commands such as sit, stay, leave it and come are easier to control in distracting and stimulating environments. If you want your dog to respond to you around distractions they must have strong response to commands and they must be trained around distractions.

There are four components that need to be addressed when treating inappropriate jumping.

  • Positive Reinforcement of Alternate Behaviors

Teach your dog to sit when greeted, practice sit at the front door. Open and close the door while maintaining your dog in a sit stay. Give your dog a reward every time he greats you with a sit and ignore all jumping behavior.

  • Management of the Problem and Setting the Dog up to Succeed

If your dog has a tendency to jump on visitors ensure the dog is on-leash before you invite your guests into the home. A leash can be kept in a convenient location near the door. Put the leash on the dog and step on the leash giving the dog 1.5 to 2 feet of leash. Ignore all excited behavior and reward all calm behavior.

Tether the dog in a location that can be seen from the front door but the dog is far enough away from the dog where they cannot access your guests. Wait for your dog to calm down then release to greet your guest.

If you are arriving home, have a handful of treats or a toy with you when the dog comes to greet you at the door through the treats/toy on the floor and proceed into the house.

  • Consequences for Inappropriate Jumping

The dog should never be given attention for jumping, they should always be ignored. If a large dog is jumping then the person should walk to an area where they can isolate themselves from the dog (bedroom). Remember, discipline is a form of attention and will not resolve playful jumping.

  • Consistency in Dealing with Jumping

A dog should never be allowed to jump on the owner or any guest. Allowing the dog to jump on the owner but expect that they will not jump on guests is not a realistic expectation.

Enforce the four on the floor rule, no attention or affection unless all four paws are on the floor.