• January 13th, 2022
    Written by: Kimberly

    For some dogs, their reaction when you or a visitor comes in the door is to jump up, put their paws against your leg or chest, and maybe even give you some kisses. While this is natural for dogs, since it gives them an outlet for their excitement and gets immediate attention from you, it is often annoying to dog owners and their guests. In some cases it can even be dangerous if your dog is larger or prone to scratching.

    Jumping is one of the most common negative behaviors of dogs, but it is also possible to train your dog to stop this behavior. Like many training efforts, it is easiest to begin in puppyhood and stop the behavior the first few times it happens. However, it is completely possible to stop jumping later in life if you have a rescue dog or it was not something you initially covered with your puppy.

    How to Train a Dog Not to Jump on People

    The worst thing you can do when your dog jumps up, if you want to stop behavior, is to pet her and start talking to her as this reinforces that every time she jumps, she gets attention. But even methods of correction can be interpreted as attention by your dog.

    For instance, shouting at your dog to get down provides attention. Grabbing her paws and knocking her off seems like a wrestling game, and turning away - which is often common advice - can also start to seem like a game to your dog since you are doing something in response to her actions.

    Instead, next time your dog jumps, you want to continue walking forward as if your dog is not there. This provides absolute zero attention so that you are not reinforcing the behavior. Then, do not acknowledge your dog until she has calmed down.

    But it is equally important to teach your dog what to do rather than jumping. The main goal is to have your dog be calm when someone comes through the door. There are multiple ways to do this depending on your dog's current skills and what you want from her, including: 

    • Keeping all four paws on the ground.
    • Having your dog sit or lie down.
    • Having your dog go to place.
    • Grabbing a toy to bring to the door.

    As you start training these steps, start off with just you in the room before adding in family members and then other visitors. It can take several weeks of practice to train this effectively, and in the meantime,  putting your dog in her crate before a family member comes home or a guest comes over and only releasing her once she is calm can help manage the problem.