How to Stop a Dog from Jumping Up on You

It’s pretty common for dogs to jump up on people. It doesn’t matter whether your pup is old or young, excited jumping is something a lot of dog owners struggle with.

While it’s normal for dogs to jump around when they’re playing, it can be quite annoying for your dog to jump up on you (or a guest).

Some dogs are natural jumpers, but with some training, you can get this problem in check. Let’s read on to find out how.

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How to Stop a Dog from Jumping Up on You

As with any training, changing your dog’s behavior requires time, patience, consistency, and the right approach. You’ll also need a leash or line (6 feet will work well).

Here’s one technique demonstrated by McCann Dog Training:

  1. Stand on the leash in the middle, so that your dog has enough slack to move and stand, but isn’t constrained from walking.
  2. When your dog tries to jump, he or she won’t be able to. The important part here is that you are not pushing your dog away or using your hands–doing so might make your dog think you want to play. Having your dog restrain themself with the leash removes this potential confusion.
  3. To make the most of your training session, try to create (somewhat) exciting situations where your dog might be tempted to jump, like having a toy in your hand. See the video below for examples.
  4. Reward when your dog chooses not to jump. Make sure you reward the behavior that you like!
  5. Once your dog gets the idea, add a cue like “off”. Use this to proactively get the dog off of you before the jumping is in full swing.
  6. Be patient and keep training!

The overall pattern here is very similar to clicker training, where you use a clicker to train your dog what “success” looks like, then using that to train a behavior, then add a verbal cue.

Stopping Your Dog From Jumping On Others

Another approach, demonstrated by Cesar Millan, is to give your dog body language cues. In this video, he demonstrates his approach with a few different dogs.

Rather than jumping up on the owner, these dogs have an issue with jumping at other people and objects (like a lawnmower).

  1. He first uses a leash or leader on the dog, and holds it above their head. This prevents them from jumping forward and out. This first part is called the “guidance” where the owner is using the placement of the leash, and verbal cues to their dog, to prevent them from jumping
  2. Next, he instructions the owners to signal to the dog to relax. Once the dog’s impulse to jump is gone, he relaxes the leash to show that their behavior is acknowledged and rewarded with a relaxed pose. In the video, the dogs don’t jump at the exciting or threatening object even after they have more leash length to do so.

Here’s the video so you can see the dogs being trained by Cesar:

More Tips

As we mentioned earlier, this is a process. Cesar Millan and other dog trainers are very effective, but they also get to choose which parts of their training show make it to the final video. Keep this in mind if things get tough: be consistent, patient, and you’ll get there!

  • Work on other ‘tricks’ as well. If your dog knows how to sit, it can be easier to correct their behavior, especially in “real life” scenarios (as opposed to training sessions).
  • Reward your dog for the behavior you want to see. You can do this verbally and also with treats.
  • Keep in mind where you (as the human) can make things easier on your dog, as they’re learning. For example, if your dog jumps on you when you arrive home, try to greet your dog in a more calm way.
  • Avoid punishing or pushing your dog even if they don’t stop jumping. Excitable dogs may interpret this as playing and more sensitive dogs may be negatively impacted by your response.
  • Ask everyone in the family to be consistent with the dog’s training. In most times, you can’t stop the dog from jumping on different people because other family members don’t respond the same way you do. 
  • If the dog tends to jump on a single person, ask this person for help with the training. Make sure that your dog isn’t afraid of this person, and train your dog not to jump on them. If the dog starts jumping to greet this person, they should turn away. 

Why Does Your Dog Jump on You?

While you want your dog to stop jumping either way, understanding the reasons why your dog jumps can help inform your training and extend your patience:

  • Puppies naturally jump when they see their mothers. When you become the pack leader instead of the mother, it still retains its behavior to greet you. 
  • Dogs usually approach and jump on each other for greetings. When the dog jumps on you, it brings its face closer to yours to greet you. 
  • Encouraging this behavior is one of the reasons why the dog will keep on repeating it. If you laugh and hug the dog back, it will continue to jump whenever it sees you. Correct the behavior with the methods listed above, and then give your dog some positive reinforcement.
  • Dogs with a lot of energy may be more prone to jumping. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation so its frustration doesn’t come out in other ways like jumping.
  • A dog might jump on you because you’ve been away for too long and they’ve missed you.
  • Your dog might attempt to jump on a stranger because it feels confused and worried. This is the dog’s way to regain confidence when it doesn’t feel safe
  • Puppies and dogs that don’t get introduced to different people earlier can jump up or at them because they don’t feel safe. 

Why Does My Dog Jump on One Person?

Your dog might jump up on one person and not others. This can be for a number of reasons:

Your dog might jump up on someone who doesn’t set boundaries. This is assuming that your dog knows how to respond to the training cues described above (such as learning “off”; if not, try the methods in this article). For example, if you do not tell your dog “off” but your partner does, the dog may only jump up on you. Be firm but gentle with your dog to correct this behavior. If your dog jumps up on younger members of the family such as children, you may have to help coach them so they can feel confident.

Dogs and Guests

If your dog has a severe problem with jumping, you can also try to avoid difficult situations with guests. For example, you can put your dog in a crate before guests arrive, or keep them in a separate room. One dog owner we know will keep her dog upstairs as guests arrive, and then once guests are settled, she will bring the (now calmer) dog to greet them.

You might also want to keep your dog on a leash, and use other commands that your dog knows better (like “sit”) to correct the behavior in front of guests. Make sure your guests don’t encourage the jumping. You might have to give them a few gentle pointers, as not everyone is familiar with dogs or dog training.

Wrap Up

Jumping is part of any dog’s natural instincts, but it can get out of control. We hope that this article has been informative and useful for training your dog.

Keep it consistent, upbeat, and you will be able to solve your dog’s jumping problems.

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.