Why Dogs Jump

Some reasons dogs jump:

  • Greeting people/dogs
  • Attention-seeking
  • Play initiation
  • To explore/get something they want that is high up

First and foremost, jumping is the canine way of saying hello. It’s how your dog shows his joy at seeing you, a visitor to the house, or a friendly-looking stranger on the street. It’s not an attempt to dominate you nor is it done out of spite. Your dog’s jumping behavior is not rude, it just means he doesn’t know a different way to greet people, and the best cure is to teach him just that.

Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump…

When you arrive home:

Step 1. Crack the door open. If your dog jumps up, close the door.

Step 2. Repeat until you can step through the door without your dog jumping up.

Step 3. If he jumps on you, turn away. If he keeps jumping, go back outside and start again.

Step 4. Whenever your dog keeps four paws on the floor, praise and pet him.

Alternatively, you can prevent the problem in the first place. Use a baby gate to keep your dog away from the entry door, perhaps by limiting him to certain rooms while you are away. Then you can wait until your dog sits to greet him.

Around the house:

Step 1. If your dog jumps on you to get attention or to play, turn your back to him.

Step 2. When he stops jumping, turn around and praise him. Repeat if necessary.

Step 3. If your dog keeps jumping up when you turn your back, walk away from him. If he follows and jumps again, put him in another room for a minute or two.

By following this approach, you train your dog to sit for attention. Be sure to reinforce this behavior by giving your dog some attention (praise, a cuddle, etc.) when he chooses to sit nicely rather than overly excitedly demanding attention.

On visitors to the house:

Step 1. Put your dog in a head halter and on leash before answering the door for the visitor. Open the door. If your dog wants to jump on the visitor, control him with the leash and tell him “too bad” in a cheerful voice and walk him away. Once he calms down, let him try again.

Step 2. Leave the leash on your dog during the visit. You can drop the leash and let it drag, but if your dog jumps up on your visitor, pick up the leash and walk your dog away. Put him in another room for a minute or two. Then let him try again. Tell your guest to only give your dog attention when he sits.

On people on the street:

Step 1. Always walk your dog on a head halter. When approaching someone on the sidewalk, keep an eye on your dog. If he starts to jump up, control him with the leash, tell him “too bad” in a cheerful voice, turn, and walk briskly away. When your dog calms down, try again.

Step 2. When your dog has learned to keep all four paws on the ground during greetings, ask him for a sit before he says hello. If you practice this consistently (and have taught him Sit), your dog will learn to sit whenever he wants to greet a new person.


  • Be consistent. Teach your friends and family to practice these steps with your dog, too. Otherwise you unintentionally teach your dog that it’s okay to jump on people sometimes.
  • Don’t push away your dog or scold him for jumping on you. That’s more than enough attention to keep him jumping.
  • Never bring your knee up as protection against your dog’s over-happy greetings, or step on his toes when he jumps, or grab and pinch his feet. You can cause real damage to your dog and he won’t understand what you want him to do.

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