Why Dogs Jump on People and How to Prevent It
Jumping is one of the most common behavior complaints from dog owners. Many dogs jump up onto people when they are excited or over-stimulated. While a puppy jumping up to greet guests may not seem like an issue, this behavior quickly becomes risky when you’re restraining an 80-pound Labrador every time someone comes to the door.
Follow this guide to learn how to train a dog not to jump. We’ll discuss the following:
- Why your dog jumps on people
- Common scenarios when dogs jump
- How to stop a dog from jumping
Why Is My Dog Jumping on People?
Most often, a dog jumps on people out of excitement. Additionally, a jumping dog may be seeking attention— whether positive or negative. The first step towards learning how to stop a dog from jumping on people is understanding when this behavior is happening.
Here are some instances when dogs may jump up with people around:
- Greeting visitors at the front door
- Off-leash at the dog park
- Encountering strangers on walks
How to Train a Dog Not To Jump
Let’s start with the most common dog jumping situations: greeting people at the front door. Below, we’ll go over a few training tips to prevent this behavior.
If your dog is crate trained, try putting them in their crate before having people over. This is particularly helpful for overly-excited puppies. Once they’ve settled, you can let them out to socialize.
Baby gates are great for preventing dogs from barreling through guests who arrive at the front door. They can be used to prevent access to the front door, and double as a way to separate jumping dogs from cats or small children when needed.
Training Dogs Not to Jump on House Guests
Leash training is a great place to start learning how to get a dog to stop jumping. Try keeping your dog on a leash and ask a friend to help with this quick training exercise:
- Ask your dog to sit and reward them with a treat.
- Have your friend open the front door while asking your dog to remain sitting (try keeping them distracted with a treat in hand or their favorite toy).
- If your dog jumps up on your friend, have them calmly step outside again and close the door behind them.
- Repeat the exercise until your dog remains sitting when your friend comes inside (and reward their good behavior with a treat!).
Training Dogs Not to Jump on People During Walks
See our Dog Walking 101 Guide to learn more about effective leash training. To keep your dog from jumping on people while out on walks, ask a friend to help you with this exercise:
- Have your friend approach you and your (on leash) dog at a slow walk. Reward your dog with a treat if they stay seated while your friend comes closer.
- Once your friend is in front of you, shake their hand and start a calm conversation. Reward your dog with a treat if they stay sitting and restart the exercise if they jump up.
- When you are ready, try practicing this with your dog off-leash.
- Repeat with multiple people in various settings, using positive reinforcement when your dog remains calm.
Refrain from pushing your dog off or getting worked up if they jump— even though this is negative attention, some dogs will be just fine with that and continue jumping in the future. Check out guides on training dogs not to bark at strangers and training dogs not to bite strangers as well for additional tips.
If you’ve tried extensive training and nothing seems to be working, your dog might be jumping because they have lots of excess energy. Installing a pet door is a great way to allow your dog the freedom to come and go as they please, so you don’t have to play doorman to them.
Plus, with a dog door installed, your dog will have free range of the backyard and likely won’t be so excited about the goings-on at the front door. Take a look at our classic dog doors for doors and dog doors for walls, or shop all pet doors for more installation styles.
For very large dogs, take a look at our pet doors for large dogs. Our top pick is the Endura Flap Pet Door, which withstands extreme heat and cold, as well as constant use by active pets. It appears plenty of times on our list of best selling dog doors.
Key Training Takeaways
- Reward good behavior with treats
- If your dog jumps, withhold attention
- Consistent training—practice makes perfect
We hope this guide helps to explain how to stop a dog from jumping up on strangers (or on you!). As cute as it may be when they jump around, dogs need to learn early on that this behavior is not okay so you can avoid unmanageable jumping later on.
Take a look at Breaking Your Pet’s Bad Habits for more training tips & tricks!