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How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on People

There’s nothing more embarrassing than having someone come to your home, only to be jumped on by your dog. It’s a very common behavior and one reason that many dog owners seek my help.

Dogs jump on people mainly to get attention. When they’re puppies, they’re cute and we hold them and snuggle with them. They lick our face and get to smell what we’ve eaten. They want to continue reaching our face as they get older but then we change the rules-we don’t want them jumping up because they might knock us down or tear our clothes.

When we push them away, yell at them, or knee them in the chest, it just makes them repeat the cycle because they received the attention they desired. So the behavior is inadvertently reinforced by us.

There are several ways to prevent your dog from jumping on people. Start when they are puppies if you are able, to prevent the behavior from starting in the first place.

1. Consistency is Key: Make sure everyone in your household and anyone your dog interacts with is on the same page when it comes to training.

2. Ignore Jumping: When your dog jumps on someone, have the person completely ignore them. No eye contact, no talking, and no physical touch. However, sometimes this makes the jumping worse because the dog tries that much harder to get your attention.

3. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog when they greet people calmly. Treats, praise, and affection can go a long way in reinforcing good behavior. I usually start by rewarding with treats until the dog understands the “treat” is greeting the person.

4. Teach an Alternative Behavior: Instead of jumping, encourage your dog to offer an alternative behavior, like sitting or offering a paw. I also like to teach “touch” so the dog gets the attention he craves while keeping all paws on the floor. Reward and praise them when they choose this behavior over jumping.

5. Leash Training: Use a leash during greetings if your dog tends to jump excessively. This gives you control and prevents them from getting to the person to jump on them.

6. Socialization: Socialize your dog with different people and situations. The more exposure they have, the better they'll become at greeting people politely. That’s why I take my clients to stores such as Lowe’s and The Home Depot so they can practice greeting people calmly.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice: Consistent practice is essential. Set up scenarios with friends or family to simulate greetings and practice the desired behavior.

8. Be Patient: Remember that training takes time, and every dog is different.

9. Seek Professional Help: If your dog's jumping behavior is persistent or challenging to address, consider consulting a professional dog trainer, like myself, for one-on-one training sessions in your home. I can be reached at (540) 353-2485 or


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