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How To Make Your Dog Stop Jumping On People

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Does your puppy or dog jump “maul” you when you come home? Can you not get through the door without him clobbering you with love and attention? What about when you are holding a piece of food? Does he perform dolphin-like leaps to get that morsel from your hand? Even worse, does he do this when he meets a stranger on the street or a guest in your house?

While his intentions may be (mostly) good, this type of jumping isn’t just annoying, it’s dangerous. Dogs that jump on people can cause all sorts of problems:

This person is clearly reinforcing the dog for jumping up on her. Image source: @MrTinDC via Flickr
This person is clearly reinforcing the dog for jumping up on her. Image source: @MrTinDC via Flickr
  • Injury due to the dog’s nails
  • Knocking over small children, seniors or injured persons
  • Scaring people
  • Grabbing body parts with their mouth
  • Stealing foods/items that may be hazardous to the dog
  • Ruining clothes

These are just a few examples of what can happen when a dog is constantly jumping.

Why Dogs Jump

With the exception of dogs with fear or aggression issues, there is a simple reason why your dog jumps up on people – to get something he wants! When you get home from work, he wants attention. When you have a sandwich in your hand, he wants a piece. When you have a toy in your hand, he wants the toy. When a guest is coming through the door, it’s exciting and he wants to greet them!

Do not reinforce your dog for jumping up.
Do not reinforce your dog for jumping up!

Basically, your dog has learned that jumping is how to get everything he wants. Whether he has been practicing this behavior for years, or he has just figured out this “trick,” it can be hard to get them to stop once they have learned it works because dogs are opportunists. In other words, they repeat behaviors that work!

How Do You Stop The Jumping?

While the root cause of jumping is simple, the problem is not something that can be solved instantaneously, but rather requires a methodical and consistent approach. Dogs jumping on people is actually one of the most common problems dog owners cite, (so much so that we developed an easy to follow online course) Below are the 2 primary principles we teach in our course:

1. Don’t allow him to get what he wants when he does jump (stop reinforcing the behavior)

2. Teach him an alternative behavior instead of jumping

For the second step, the most common alternative behavior is a “sit”. Our course teaches owners to train theirs dog to sit for greetings, attention, for his food bowl, his toy, a or treat – pretty much anything that he wants. The key here is that if your dog wants something, he sits, not jumps. He can’t possibly do both at once!

In the online course that we developed, you can learn how to teach your dog to sit for pretty much anything at your own pace. You can practice with your dog whenever it’s convenient for you (no set weekly day/time!) and you can move at your own pace without fear of being left behind by the rest of the class.

Sign up now and learn how to turn your jumping Jack into a polite sitter in no time!

One-Time Special Offer for iHeartDogs Readers – $19.95 (reg. $29.95)
How To Keep Your Dog From Jumping On People Course

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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