Dog Jumping on Man

Why Do Dogs Jump on People, and How to Train Them to Stop It

A common issue that frustrates many people is their dog’s habit of jumping up on people. Your dog may jump on you when you’re leaving for work, leaving little dirty paw prints on your business suit, or may jump on visitors, shocking or frightening them. This may not be alarming behavior in a Chihuahuas, but if your St. Bernard is jumping up on people, it can be a real problem that needs a real solution.

Why Does My Dog Jump on People?

There are various reasons why dogs jump on people. Many dogs do this when they are very excited. It can be endearing when they’re small puppies greeting visitors by jumping up harmlessly onto your guest’s foot. But, dogs (especially large breeds) can outgrow the charm of such infant dog behavior in just a few short months. Jumping on people, despite the friendly, welcoming intentions of your dog, becomes an actual safety hazard when a 90-pound large-breed adult dog is knocking down everyone it encounters.

Common situations in which dogs jump on people:

  • Greeting you or your guests who are entering your house
  • In public places, like playing at the park or passing people on walks

How to Train a Dog Not To Jump

There are several popular and effective methods for training dogs not to jump on you, your family, friends, or strangers in various kinds of encounters and environments. Here are time-tested dog behavior training methods for breaking dogs of the habit of jumping on people at home and in public:

Leash Training Method

A well-proven training approach to helping a dog start to learn not to jump on people at your home is using a leash. Ask a friend to help you with this quick 3-step dog training exercise, and repeat it until you are getting the desired results.

  1. With your dog on a leash, tell your dog to sit, and then reward obedience with a treat.
  2. Ask your friend to open the door while you are having your dog remain sitting. Help your dog succeed by distracting him or her with a favorite toy or treat.
  3. If the dog jumps on your friend, calmly ask your friend to step back outside and shut the door.

Keep repeating the 3-step training exercise until your dog stays sitting each time your friend comes in through the door. Reward the good behavior with a treat every time, until your dog masters the skill.

When the dog behaves consistently as desired through multiple repeats of the exercise, you can congratulate your dog, your friend, and yourself on your success. Rewards all around! Do expect that reinforcement training is likely to be necessary to establish newly learned behavior as a long-term habit. Even months or years later, occasional refresher training may be required to maintain ideal behavior.

Crate Training Method

For over-excited puppies, if you’ve been working on crate training, you can try having them wait in their crate for a few minutes until they settle down, before letting them come out to socialize with guests.

Installing baby gates can be very useful to prevent young, untrained dogs from rushing at guests when they enter your home. Gates can be located to block access to the front entry door. The gate can also be used to keep excited jumping dogs separate from small children when needed.

Dog Door Method

Many dogs are especially difficult to train not to jump on people, often because they are so full of energy that even the most diligent dog training efforts may not appear to be succeeding. A relatively trouble-free solution is simply installing a dog door, to allow your dog freedom to play and run off excess energy outdoors. Just close the sliding security door to let your dog stay out until you see that your dog is sitting or lying calmly and can be let in to socialize with your guests.

With a free run of the backyard, your dog may be less excited about what’s happening inside your house. Select from the best pet doors available, and choose one made for installation in a wall or a dog door for sliding glass doors, depending on where you want your dog to have an entry/exit.

Walking Along Public Walkways

Ask a friend to help you with this dog training exercise. With your dog on a leash, as you’re walking along a chosen public sidewalk or in a local park:

  • Ask your friend to slowly approach you and your dog as you’re walking the dog on a leash in a public area. Give your dog a reward, if he/she behaves as desired while your friend reaches you.
  • While your friend is standing in front of you and your dog, shake hands with your friend and engage in low-key conversation. Give your dog a treat as a reward for calm behavior. If the dog jumps up, then repeat the training exercise.
  • After your dog masters the desired behavior, then try practicing the exercise without the leash.

Repeat the training exercise in various locations and kinds of settings with different people, always focusing on employing positive reinforcement each time your dog stays calm and does not jump.

Avoid shoving your dog away or getting upset if he/she jumps. Although this kind of attention is negative, it engages the dog and very often does not work to discourage future jumping.

General Dog Training Strategies

Start dog training early. The jumping behavior may be adorable in your new puppy, but dogs need to start learning after the first few months that the jumping behavior is not what you want. Early training will help you avoid jumping after the dog is much larger and the behavior is much more unmanageable.

Even if it appears that your dog is never going to learn to stop jumping on people, sticking with the training consistently is more likely than not to start producing more encouraging results. Expect training success to take practice.

Also keep perspective that like other worthwhile goals, dog training can take time to achieve. So, by all means, every time you feel like giving up the effort, stick with it with the determination necessary to train away from the unwanted behavior.

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For more information or to order energy-efficient pet doors for sliding glass doors or walls, call Pet Door Products, Salt Lake City UT at (801) 973-8000, or fill in our online contact option for a prompt response.

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