Whole Dog Journal Tips March 1, 2011

(Proper Greetings #3) Stop Your Dog from Jumping on People

There’s a common misconception that dogs jump on people to establish dominance. Balderdash! Dogs jump on people because there’s something about jumping that is reinforcing for the dog - usually the human attention that results from the jumping. If you want your dog to stop jumping on people, you have to be sure he doesn’t get reinforced for it. Here’s what you can do to prevent your dog from jumping on people:

Educate. Tell friends, family and even temporary acquaintances what you want them to do if your dog starts to jump up. Insist they not reinforce jumping up behavior - even those friends who claim they don’t mind! Educational options include telling them to:

  • Greet your dog before he jumps, perhaps even kneeling to greet a small dog.
  • Turn and step away from your dog until he sits, or at least has four feet on the floor, then turn back to greet the dog.
  • Ask your dog to sit and reinforce by petting him if/when he does.
  • Back away from your dog (if you have your dog on leash) and wait for him to sit before greeting or petting him. If he jumps up while you are petting him, simply stop the petting and take a step backward. Resume petting only if he sits.
  • Toss a toy conveniently provided by you to redirect the dog’s behavior before the jump happens.
  • Walk away from your dog through a gate or door and close it behind them to keep the dog on the other side.

For more training tips and advice on how to keep your dog from jumping up on people, purchase Whole Dog Journal's ebook, Proper Greeting: Stop Your Dog from Barking and Jumping when the Doorbell Rings.