3 Easy Ways to Teach a Dog Not to Jump on People

Updated on January 8, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Ouch! | Source

This is a common problem, and a reason a lot of people end up ignoring their dog and banishing it to the backyard (where the dog can dig, bark excessively, and try to climb the fence). It is something easy to deal with and no reason to exile a friendly animal.

So why do dogs jump up on people?

We stand up on two legs and dogs have to jump up to greet us. There is nothing more to it than that; your dog is just trying to be friendly. She wants to say hello, she wants to say goodbye, or maybe she wants to tell you how excited she is about her new toy.

Some dogs jump up when they want attention.
Some dogs jump up when they want attention. | Source

How Can I Keep My Dog from Jumping Up?

The most important thing to remember, no matter how you choose to train your dog, is to be consistent. If you let her jump up on you Saturday morning when you are wearing your old jeans, she will think that it is okay to jump up on you Monday morning when you are dressed for that important meeting. Your dog does not own an iPhone with a calendar, she cannot tell the difference between the weekend and a work day. Don’t let her jump up only when you are in the mood.

  1. Teach her to sit: If you have not taught this command you should. It is one of the most basic obedience commands you need to teach every puppy. Every time your dog starts to jump up tell her to sit and then lean down and praise her. IF you do not feel like leaning down, scratching her ears, and telling her what a good dog she is, don´t even bother. Your dog is only going to perform consistently when she knows that you really care!
  2. Tell her to go fetch: If your dog acts like she is going to jump up and is so excited that she may not respond to a sit command, throw her something and tell her to go fetch. She will burn off some of the excess energy and when she comes back she should sit when you tell her to.
  3. Turn your back on her: You may need to do this for 10 seconds, you may need to do it for 5 minutes. All dogs are different and if she is really excited she might continue to jump. Outwait her.

This is not the best method for kids or the elderly. If your dog is big and might knock someone down, be sure to focus on the “sit” command to calm her down.

Some dogs really enjoy jumping up.
Some dogs really enjoy jumping up. | Source

How Else Can I Keep My Dog From Jumping Up?

I will give a list here of several alternatives that work as well as teaching her to sit, distracting her, or just ignoring her. Please keep in mind that, although many of these methods are recommended in dog training books, and are even guaranteed to make your dog into a model companion, from a behavioral standpoint they are likely to make your dog fearful and aggressive. These methods might keep your clothes clean but they tend to ruin the bond you are forming with her. You might also end up consulting an expensive behaviorist or being sued after your dog bites one of the neighbors who happens to be carrying a fly swatter.

  1. Pop a plastic bag when your dog is about to jump up. This startles her.
  2. Hit your dog on the top of the head with a fly swatter as she starts to jump up. It does not hurt her but does startle her.
  3. Spray your dog in the face when she is about to jump up. I have been told this does not work with Labrador Retrievers, since they love it and will jump up even more!
  4. Knee your dog in the chest as she starts to jump up. Besides making the dog afraid of you, this technique may also end up injuring your dog.

This is great, when you have to ask the dog to jump up!
This is great, when you have to ask the dog to jump up! | Source

My dog seemed to have this exercise completely mastered. In fact I´m sure she had learned this concept except with an old German neighbor who comes by periodically to visit. He tells me that he is upset by my dog jumping up on him, but then proceeds to scratch her ears when she has her paws on his chest, and then lets her lick him in the face.

He is giving her mixed signals. DO NOT do this to your dog.

Jumping is normal behavior and not something you should punish your dog for. If you don’t want a dog that jumps you can utilize these training techniques but they are not going to work for you overnight. Even if your dog is well trained she might make a mistake. Don’t punish her for it. Just bend down and let her lick your face.

Dog saliva comes off with soap and water.

What is the best way to keep your dog from jumping up?

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Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Tim 17 months ago

        I have a boxer-bulldog mix, he just turned 6 months old and he loves to jump. WHEN he starts I tell him to sit, if that don't work then I turn my back on him. Sometimes I will stand there looking at him with my hands on my hips then he will sit with his head bowed down, or lays down. WHEN he does this I will then pet him and praise him.

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Hopefully they will have at least trained her to sit. If not, turning your back on her until she calms down is really the best method when it is not your own dog. Good luck with her.

      • Country-Sunshine profile image

        Country Sunshine 3 years ago from Texas

        A friend's dog always jumps on me when I visit. I'm going to try some of these tips to see if I can get it to stay down.

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Back in the 70s, everyone was recommending that "knee them in the chest" routine. You said it: yikes. It would hurt but wouldn't calm me down.

      • aykianink profile image

        aykianink 5 years ago

        I've had a friend ALWAYS let her dog jump on me. I...am not cool with this. So... "Sit!" is the answer, eh? My friend never invokes that...ever. She must be torturing me. Hm.

        On another note, KNEEING your dog should never be an option. I guess this is from the old days where you choke your dog with a gigantic chain...yikes...

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil


      • profile image

        DoItForHer 5 years ago

        "Kick 'em in the groin!"

        I get so tired of hearing that one.

      • marthamuldoon profile image

        marthamuldoon 5 years ago from Austin, TX

        No, they're not growing out of it. You're ceasing to reward behavior you don't want. Save the attention for when they're doing what you do want - sitting or lying down calmly. Once you stop rewarding the jumping by talking to them, petting them, etc., they stop. Ideally you can train them to do that, as you suggest, but I haven't had much luck with that. Really, when I come home, my dog is calm, because I don't make a big event out of it, but when my husband does, she jumps all over the place because he talks to her in an excited voice. Now, if only I could train my husband...

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        I like that "at least one can hope". I don´t really like to ignore, even though it is highly recommended, and just hope eventually the dog will grow out of the behavior. At least one can hope...

        Thanks for the comment!

      • marthamuldoon profile image

        marthamuldoon 5 years ago from Austin, TX

        These are good suggestions, though I think you're right that some could backfire, depending on the dog. Another idea is to ignore your dog when you get home. Your dog is excited because you pet them and greet them and encourage them when you get home. If you ignore them, get changed, etc., and generally don't make a big deal about coming home, they don't get as excited and don't jump as much. Ignore them if they jump. Once they're calm, you can give them a treat and pet them. That way you're rewarding calm behavior, rather than excited behavior. Eventually, they'll stop jumping altogether. At least one can hope....