Behavior Problems

How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on People

People often choose dogs as pets for their loving, enthusiastic personalities. But sometimes your dog can show their zest for life with unwanted behaviors like jumping. If your dog jumps up on people or furniture, training can help him deal with his excitement differently.

Why do dogs jump?

Dogs express emotion and excitement with their body language.

Most of the time, when a dog jumps, it is expressing its happiness to see its humans. Jumping is a common part of a dog’s greeting routine.

If your dog notices that jumping up to greet someone gets attention, fine or bad, that might be enough to convince them to move on. Dogs can easily be trained to repeat behaviors when rewarded for doing so, and jumping does just that.

Studies have shown that attention from a human – whether positive or negative – is one of the strongest rewards for most dogs. It’s often even better than food or toys.

What to do when dogs jump on people

If your dog already has a habit of pouncing on friends and strangers to say hello, take precautions to keep people safe. Even the friendliest dog can sometimes throw people down. Some people are afraid of dogs or just don’t want their clothes to get dirty.

Some ways to teach your dog not to jump to greet people include:

    • Hold your dog’s collar when someone new walks by.
    • Confine your dog to another room when you have guests.
    • Put your dog in his crate to meet new people.
    • Distract your dog with a special treat or fun toy when new people arrive.

Teach your dog to stop jumping

It’s a little more difficult to teach a dog to stop jumping than to do a trick.

The first step is to ignore them when they jump. Paying attention to their bad behavior, even if that attention is a punishment, can still reinforce their actions.

Instead, just ignore them and walk away. For some dogs, this may be enough to get them to stop. Make sure you’re consistent. Everyone in your home should be doing the same.


If you have a family member or friend who can help with training, have treats available and then have your training partner walk your dog into the room. If your dog jumps, the other person must walk away immediately. But if your dog keeps all four paws on the ground, give him a treat and lots of attention.

This treat will help teach your dog that keeping your feet on the ground is far more rewarding.

What to do if dogs jump on furniture

When dogs jump on furniture, they can land hard and scratch furniture and people on the furniture.

They like to get on sofas and beds because people spend a lot of time there. Your dog may just want to spend some quality time with you.

The other reason dogs like furniture is that it’s comfortable. If your dog’s favorite spot is on your sofa, try getting him a soft, cozy bed to put next to it. This gives them an alternate location that is just for them.

If they use the dog bed instead of the couch, give them a treat.

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