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6 Easy Ways to Stop Your Puppy From Jumping on People

Annoying Dog Behaviors, Blog

8  comments

Puppy jumping can seem so cute when your puppy is small. Who doesn’t love feeling that there’s someone in this world who is super excited to see them?

Puppies are small, curious, and excited to learn about EVERYTHING! So they often jump up to get a better look at things that are out of reach. Puppies also thrive on attention and will jump up to make sure you know there’s something they feel you need to pay attention to… particularly if that something is them!

Whether it’s for food, a dog treat, toys, affection, or just to get picked up so they can have a better view of the world, puppies learn quickly that jumping can be very rewarding.

Heck if you're dishing out treats, attention, and acts of affection, I might start to ask for a little myself. Who doesn’t love to be loved?

But you may not realize that attention is a form of reward in dog training. So each time your puppy jumps up and gets your attention, you’re actually rewarding unwanted behavior or telling your puppy that you like it when they jump on you. After all, you pet them and give them praises when they do so.

What happens when the love becomes a little (or a lot) more annoying though? You come home only to be greeted by wet kisses and paws on your pant legs. You lean down to pet your super excited pup who thinks it’s been an eternity since you’ve been home. No problem there, right? Well…..

 

The Problem

The problem is that when they get to be an adult… larger, bigger, stronger…it feels as if you’re going to get knocked over when they jump on you. This is a bad thing and is considered bad manners. Your adult dog is now demanding attention since they learned early on that jumping is what works to get them that attention.

Maybe you don’t mind your dog jumping on you, but not everybody else is going to love it. Your neighbor might not like to be greeted with jumping while you’re out walking your pup. Your grandma might not like to be greeted with sharp nails and paws when she comes to visit you.

It’s better to stop your puppy from jumping when they are young so that they become well mannered as an adult.

puppy jumping up on boy

Here are 6 pro tips to stop puppy from jumping on you and your guests:

 

1.  Teach your puppy to keep all 4 paws on the ground in order to get some lovin’.

This means you’ll use the “sit” command, to get your dog to sit first, and only pet them after they are in the sit position. If they start to jump, take your attention away. Attention is given for good behavior only!

 

2.  Avoid eye contact, verbal communication, and petting if your puppy is jumping.

Instead, cross your arms, ask your pup to sit and avoid eye contact until your puppy sits. Once your puppy is sitting, you can then give a positive reinforcement like praise or a pet.

 

3. Don’t drop your body posture when you approach your pup.

Dropping your posture is an invitation to come closer and jump.

 

4.  Keep your puppy on a leash when meeting and greeting people or when guests arrive.

That way, you can step on the leash to prevent your puppy from being able to jump. This helps teach your dog that jumping on people is not ok.

 

5.  Take back your personal space.

If your puppy is jumping on you, make sure you take a step toward them instead of stepping away from them. Don’t give up your personal space as this is an invite for your puppy to come closer and jump on you.

 

6.  Teach the “off” cue.

You won’t use the phrase “get down” if your puppy is jumping. “Off” means put all 4 paws on the floor, and “down” (or any version of it) literally means go lay down.

More than likely your puppy has not learned what the word “off” means so you cannot ask them to perform the command just yet. If you say “off” to a puppy that doesn’t know what you’re saying, you’re actually teaching them that jumping = off.

Then, every time your puppy hears “off” they will think you want them to jump…Yikes, that’s not right!
Puppies learn new words by association. This means that in the beginning, you can only say the right word with the right action.

Instead, make sure that puppy’s 4 paws are on the floor first and then say “off.” Soon the puppy will learn the word association – that “off” means 4 paws on the floor – and then it can become a command to be used later down the road.

 

Stop Your Puppy From Jumping

If your puppy is jumping, remember, they will soon be a bigger dog that can easily trip you or accidentally knock you or other family members over. Teach your puppy from the start that jumping is a no-no. Reward only for the behavior you want otherwise you’re sending a conflicting or confusing message to your pup.

You might enjoy these other training tips.

First Time Puppy Owner: 7 Tips to Start Off On The Right Paw

 5 Puppy Crate Training Tips & Tricks

3 Steps to Teach Your Puppy to Ring Potty Bells

 

Does your puppy jump on your or guests? In the comments below tell me when your puppy jumps the most.
Michele Lennon

About the trainer 

Michele Lennon

After spending 20 years helping families with their dogs face to face as a professional dog trainer, Michele realized that so much of what she knows could be shared with families everywhere - in a way that actually works. People sometimes think their dog is just SUPER difficult because the advice they’ve gotten was incomplete, confusing or just wrong. So she set out to help. Michele loves training dogs because of the impact that it has on the families she gets to help.  The peace and joy they get from being able to enjoy their dog LISTENING. Besides teaching classes, helping private clients and running seminars, Michele is also a foodie and fantasizes about being a food critic or secret shopper for restaurants.  Talk to her about food and your instant best friends.

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    1. You can teach her that she needs to sit before she gets any attention. Don’t pet her when she jumps, instead ask her to “sit.” She can be rewarded with attention when she’s sitting politely!

    1. I recommend working with her leash on so she can’t run up to people and instinctually jump. You’ll have better control over her if she is on a leash. She also could benefit from learning the “focus” command so she can look at you instead of distractions like birds, other dogs, etc.

  1. My 5 month old still won’t walk very far. Even with the red light green light He’s a lab and in the house has a ton of energy. He will go for a long walk with his friend who is also a lab but 75% if the time, getting him to walk is a challenge. Physically he is fine, he just has a “thing” most days for not wanting to go far from home. Anything else I can try ?

    1. Has the weather been super hot where you are located? Have you checked the pads of his feet for stones or pebbles or is the pavement hot? Do you bring rewards out on walks and let him know when he’s walking well? Bring a toy out on the walk to encourage him to walk along next to you. Have you played my close to me is the best place to be game?” It’s found inside my 30 Days to Puppy Perfection course and my DIY Dog Training Course.

  2. My 9 week old Bassett Hound puppy has just started jumping up for attention. I have been saying stop without thinking about it because it is just the natural thing to want to say. If I start saying the right things now, will he still be able to learn that off means four paws on the ground, or have I already screwed it up by saying the wrong thing without thinking?

    1. No worries, there’s still time to fix this behavior! We want to reinforce for the right behavior before we start calling it anything. You may find value in our Free Better Puppy Behavior Workshop where we go over this in more detail as well as how to solve other unwanted behaviors too! https://howtotrainadreamdog.com/BPBWorkshop

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