Dog Jumping Up? How To Prevent and Stop It With Training
Updated: Jul 9
Regardless of your dogs breed, age, or size, at some point, jumping up starts to become a real pain - especially if you have the claw marks to prove it! There are lots of reasons why dogs may jump up - some are super excited to see us, and some are very worried and don't know what to do! This article has been designed to help you identify why your dog is jumping up and how you use dog training to stop it.
There are a few reasons why dogs may be jumping:
They are very excited to see you. Their body is loose, and tail wags are midway and soft. Your dog is receptive to calm fuss and asks for more after the touch test.
The dog is feeling worried and is showing a fear response called "fooling around." Dogs will jump when they are panicking and unsure of how to deal with the situation. Jumping is frantic and constant. The tail wag may be high and tight or low and tight. Facial features are tight, and there may be other fear signals.
The dog is in physical discomfort. Jumping up may be a displacement behaviour to prevent you from touching areas that are uncomfortable and body language is similar to those of the fear response.
Dogs of any age and breed can show jumping behaviour for any of the reasons above. So now we know why, what next?
Four Paws On The Floor
Assuming you've had the all clear from the vet, we need to teach our puppy or dog an alternative behaviour to jumping. To do this, we need to make sure we are in a low distraction environment first and follow these steps:
Start by placing a treat on the floor next to you as your dog approaches. Don't wait for your dog to jump. Immediately get their nose to the ground!
As soon as they finish, place another treat on your other side. Repeat these steps until you know your dog won't jump as soon as they finish.
Start to build duration before rewarding, start a couple of seconds, then build to more.
Over time, start to increase the difficulty by starting to move around. Doing this at different times and different places in the house. Get friends or family to pop around and repeat these steps.
If at any point your dog jumps up, go back a step and repeat a few more times. Remember that it doesn't matter if your dog chooses to stand, sit, or lie down. All that matters is that your dog isn't jumping - give them the choice to do this in a position that makes them feel comfortable.
You can ask the visitor to fuss when your dog is calm and relaxed. You may want to give them a chew to take away and work on initially to help them relax!
But What About The Fear?
If your dog is jumping up due to fear, there are additional steps we can take in addition to the above:
Make sure your dog has a safe space away from visitors. Reward your dog for any choice to move here - teaching a 'place' may help with this.
Ask visitors to keep hands off! Handling is only likely to increase the fear.
Start to desensitise your dog to triggers that predict visitors e.g. doorbell ringing, cars pulling up, car doors closing. This will help your dog feel calm from the get-go - much more chance for success!
Consider a baby gate to separate your dog from the visitors if you are struggling with any of the other tips.
Ask visitors to play "hands off" games! This can be tossing the treat away from them so the dog can choose to come closer on their own while building a positive relationship with the visitor. You can consider play as an option, too! You could teach your dog some tricks that visitors can ask for and reward your dog - easy wins for our dogs builds confidence quickly!
Puppies are cute when they jump up, but it's not so cute when they are adults! Keep training consistent from the start.
Ensure any chews used are long-lasting and natural to ensure the dog is able to get maximum benefits from the chew.
Management is important! Baby gates, leads on, and doors closed are all useful to prevent jumping up.
If your dog is jumping up at people outside, it could be fear - follow the tips in this article to help.
If there is no improvement, get a force free dog trainer and behaviourist on board to help you out!