Jumping Up on People

How to Stop a Dangerously Affectionate Behavior


When they’re puppies, you might laugh about this, but when they’re adults, you’ll wish you hadn’t. Dogs who’ve taken to jumping up on people are cute, but it’s annoying to be the target, especially if they won’t stop.

Aside from being annoying, even a medium sized dog can hurt a child while jumping up, and a big dog can possibly hurt an adult by doing it.

At the very least, if your dog is jumping up on your guests, it can make them want to visit less often.

The Annoying Version of Jumping Up: Dogs don’t know that your white shirts need to stay white or that their claws might rip your clothes.

The Dangerous Version of Jumping Up: Your friendly dog greets a child or an older person and knocks them down, risking injury.

What Leads to the Jumping Up Behavior?

  1. Plain old love. They just want to say hi, and they’re excited to see you.
  2. It’s worked in the past when they wanted to get attention.
  3. To show dominance. If the dog’s allowed to jump up, then the “victim” is submitting.


What to Know
When Training Against Jumping Up

  • In most cases, your dog doesn’t know jumping up is wrong. It’s up to you to set boundaries.
  • The best way to avoid this behavior is to train against it starting when the dog is a puppy.
  • Don’t punish jumping up. Your dog is just giving affection, and punishment does not communicate that you’re setting boundaries – it communicates that you don’t like your dog.
  • Don’t smile or make eye contact with your dog when he jumps up, or you’re rewarding him.
  • Make sure everyone knows that you’re training against this behavior, and how to help.
  • Don’t send mixed signals – if you don’t want him jumping up on others, don’t be the exception.

Training Methods to End the Jumping Up Habit


Now, the good news: Jumping up is one of the easier behavior problems to correct. Any one of these, or all of them together, can end the habit within a matter of days.

  • As your dog gets ready to jump up, twist your body to the side, break eye contact, stop smiling. Dog goes up, dog goes down. Then, walk away and let him think about it.
  • On the other hand, when your dog greets you on all four legs, be warm and affectionate. During the training period, treats are very appropriate for a four-legged greeting.
  • Redirect his habit by issuing a neutral command such as “sit” when he’s about to greet you. This will be understood by your dog as “sit instead of jumping up.” He’ll fully understand you are teaching him a correction.

Where Did I Learn These Training Methods?

DogProblems.com has taught me so much over the years. Dogs always come with a few quirks, and most dogs eventually develop at least one behavior problem in life. I’m never more than an hour’s reading, away from a fool-proof plan to correct whatever comes up.


Another article that’s served me well is “Stop Dogs From Jumping Up On Strangers,” by Karen Pryor, a leading dog behaviorist and trainer.

Correcting Jumping Up with Big, Strong, Willful Dogs

I’m not going to go into the tougher methods here. I’ve never had to use them – not even with my German Shepherds. I’m not saying it’s always wrong to use a choke chain, but I’ve avoided it with success.

However, I’ll say again that there are annoying jumpers and dangerous ones. DogProblems.com contains plenty of advice on more ways to handle the serious cases using a pinch collar and other tools suited for cases of dominance jumping.


Return to the main dog training page, or the section index for >dog behavior.

2014 Powered By Wordpress, Goodnews Theme By Momizat Team