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How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on People in 5 Vet-Reviewed Steps

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog jumping

How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on People in 5 Vet-Reviewed Steps


Dr. Maja Platisa Photo


Dr. Maja Platisa

DVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A dog’s habit of jumping on people is one of the most common frustrations of ownership. Dogs of all kinds will jump up to grab your attention and greet strangers, but it’s rarely seen as a welcome gesture, especially when the dog is a large and powerful breed.

The behavior comes naturally to dogs, so it takes a conscious effort to keep your pet down when people come around. Fortunately, you can approach training with positivity to gently mold the habits you prefer. Let’s explore how to stop your dog from jumping on people in the fewest steps possible.

However, if your dog is jumping up as a sign of aggression, please consult your veterinarian or a canine behaviorist immediately, as this can lead to serious injuries for the dog and people involved.

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How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on People in 5 Steps

Dogs repeat behaviors that are more likely to provide gratifying results and promote positive emotions or a reward, while avoiding behaviors that don’t benefit them. The jumping behavior is an attempt to get attention, and we fulfill that need every time we respond to the dog jumping on us.

Maybe you give your dog hugs and kisses or push them away in irritation. Either way, you’re giving your dog attention and, in their mind, rewarding their efforts. They aren’t necessarily trying to be disobedient.

They just don’t realize you want them to stop. By taking attention away at the proper time and praising the correct behaviors, you can tap into your dog’s desire to please you and satisfy themselves, making the process enjoyable for everyone.

1. Talk to Everyone in the Family

Training sessions can be vital in improving your dog’s behavior as quickly as possible, but you can’t always stop your dog from jumping on people when they enter the room. Teaching your dog manners is an ongoing, everyday task involving everyone in the house.

Talk with everyone about the expectations. Even if you do everything to avoid rewarding the behavior, your kids can completely undo your efforts if they continue petting and acknowledging your dog’s jumping on them. Ensure everyone in the house knows what to do when the dog jumps up so they get a consistent message and minimal reinforcement for the behavior.

family celebrating thanksgiving
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

2. Ignore Your Dog When They Jump on You

When you aren’t training your dog to resist jumping on people, you can change the reward system in your everyday routine to make the habit as unfulfilling as possible.

Don’t acknowledge your dog when they jump on you. Cross your arms, ignore their gaze, and stand still. When they stop jumping and put all four paws on the ground, you can greet and reward them with attention, showing they can get what they want by keeping their feet down.

Never punish or tell your dog off when they do something undesirable, like jumping. It may lead to them feeling more excited, as, after all, you are giving them attention. Or some dogs may feel anxious or fearful instead. It’s important to stay calm and not react in any way.

3. Train Your Dog to Sit While People Approach

While you’re teaching them what not to do, you also want your dog to understand what they should do to earn rewards by promoting an alternate behavior. A sit or place command is a perfect example. Have your dog practice not jumping on people in training sessions following these steps:

  • Put your dog on a lead attached to a door handle or table leg and have them sit
  • Approach your dog
  • If your dog tries to jump up on you, ignore them and walk away. If your dog stays sitting, reward them with praise, attention, and treats

Once your dog stays consistently calm and sitting, ask friends to help train. As you keep your dog on a leash in a sit position, have another person approach and greet you. Again, reward your dog for sitting, and have your friend ignore them and leave when they start jumping.

You can also perform this routine while standing on your dog’s leash to prevent them from jumping. Offer a treat when they relax or sit. Keeping them from jumping will show it isn’t an option this time and gives your dog a better chance of being successful and receiving a reward.

woman playing or training her dog
Image Credit: Javier Ballester, Shutterstock

4. Distract Your Dog With Treats

Another popular technique to train out jumping behavior is to distract your dog by scattering treats while others approach. The process is straightforward.

  • Ask a friend to approach you and your dog, but before they reach you, scatter a few high-value treats on the floor
  • While the dog enjoys the treats, let your friend praise and pet your dog
  • Before the dog finishes having the treats, have the other person walk away

After several repetitions, you can extend the greetings, tossing an occasional treat to keep your dog down. The idea is to catch their behavior before it happens. They can remain successful and practice keeping their feet on the floor.

Eventually, you can try having your dog greet the other person before receiving their first treat. Again, the dog should receive no treats or attention for jumping.

5. Separate Your Dog From Incoming Guests While Training

Part of training good behaviors is removing the chance for your dog to practice undesirable ones. Expecting everyone who enters your house to respond correctly to a jumping dog isn’t reasonable. And every time they get any reaction, good or bad, they reinforce that habit.

Dogs are more likely to pursue a behavior if it yields a consistently more desirable outcome than the alternative. You may have to keep your dog on a leash when guests arrive, provide instructions to them about ignoring your dog, and wait until your dog calms down before they get a reward. Keep treats and toys on hand to help you distract your dog from wanting to jump.

Depending on the size of your dog and the risks they present, you may need to take another step back and block access to people entirely. Consider installing a baby gate, keeping your dog in another room with enrichment devices, or putting them in their crate. Continue working with your dog in controlled situations until they’re ready for real-world situations.

Image Credit: Jaclyn Vernace, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Dogs are exuberant, social creatures that crave the reward of attention, so jumping is perfectly natural. As with most inherent urges, changing the behavior requires early intervention, consistency, and control.

Jumping can be aggravating and even a little dangerous, but with a slow, consistent approach, you can lean on positive training methods to improve your dog’s habits and strengthen your bond.

Featured Image Credit: JenRegnier, pixabay

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