Jumping on people is an extremely common dog behavior, it’s their way of saying hello. In fact, if a dog jumps on you, you should be honored since it means they feel happy to see you.
Nevertheless, there are some situations in which this behavior can be undesirable, for example when they have muddy paws and you’re wearing a white pants, or when they do so with people that aren't too fond of having dogs jumping on them (who wouldn’t, right?).
What is more, if your dog suffers from arthritis or has a joint condition such as hip dysplasia, then this behavior is not beneficial for them. Many vets recommend that dogs that suffer from these medical conditions to avoid jumping all together, so they won’t put extra pressure on their already damaged joints.
But, how in the world can we avoid this apparently natural behavior in dogs? How can we stop them from jumping on people when they meet them?
Well, there are many different and equally effective ways of stopping your dog from jumping on people. You can definitely try all of them in order to find the best one both for you and your pup.
Before trying to change this behavior, we need to understand its cause.
Why do dogs jump on people?
The reason behind this behavior is as cute as you can imagine: they are just trying to say hello. When dogs meet each other, they sniff their butt and read their body language. But when they meet another human, the process is a little bit different.
They jump because they want to be close to your face. This is why they don’t usually jump on little kids, they’re already close to their face. But why do they keep doing this even when you tell them not to? Well, because of the positive reinforcement they receive.
One of the things dogs value the most (apart from food, of course) is attention. When they jump on you, and you greet them back, they understand that they will always get your attention by doing this behavior.
What is more, they don’t differentiate between “oh hi precious pup” and “please stop jumping on me”, they just know that you’re giving them attention.
Now that we’ve understood why dogs jump on people, we can go through the different methods you can try to stop it.
As harsh as it sounds, we promise you it won’t do any harm to your dog, it can do quite the opposite actually. Since dogs keep on jumping on you every time they see you because they know that by doing so they’ll get your attention, the most logical way to stop it would be to stop this positive reinforcement.
If every time your dog jumps on you looking for attention, you don’t give it to them, they will eventually understand that their method is not effective anymore.
Nevertheless, we are aware this is not as easy as it sounds, specially because some big doggos are quite hard to ignore when you have them jumping on you. If this method doesn’t work with you, worry not, there are more possible solutions.
Use the sit command
If your dog has the sit command mastered, then this is a great moment of putting it into practice. As soon as you open your front door, or as soon as your dog attempts to jump at a friend, tell them to sit, and greet them while they’re doing so.
By doing so, you’ll still be able to greet them for as long as you want, you’ll just prevent the intense jumping.
Four on the floor
This training technique consists of teaching your dog to keep all four paws on the floor when they’re greeting someone. With patience (and many healthy treats), you both will be available to master this technique.
In order to get the best result possible, you’ll need to repeat the following steps many times, so your dog’s brain can automate this behavior.
- Have your dog on a leash.
- Have a friend of yours slowly approach your dog.
- Before your friend gets to your dog, toss some treats on the floor.
- Have your friend greet your pup while they’re eating the treat.
- Before your dog finishes the treats, have your friend walk away.
- Repeat this process several times so your dog associates the greeting with having all four paws on the floor.
- Start to do this without using the treats. If your pup jumps on them, end the greeting.
We hope these tips are helpful for having the best of greetings with your pup. Remember: patience is key, and it’s 100% normal to have ups and downs, this is not a linear process.