What to Do if Your Dog Jumps Up on You

A dog jumping up on people is usually a problem in teenage and adult dogs. Puppy jumping is usually greeted with enthusiasm and affection. Then one day that same behavior is greeted with irritation or worse. And their only fault is that they grew!

Teach your puppy to Sit the first day you bring her home, and greet her only when she’s sitting. It’s always easier to train a dog, especially a young pup, the right thing to do right from the start.

But, if you’re reading this, we assume you have a jumper. There are two steps to follow:

  1. Manage the unwanted behavior: NEVER give jumping any attention. If you never acknowledge it, the behavior will eventually go away. This means you do not touch the dog when she jumps on you (ie, to push her away) or talk to her (ie, to tell her No). Don’t even look at her. Any of these things is giving her attention, which is what she wants.

    Instead, you can turn your back to her and walk away. You can go to another room. Cross your arms and look up at the ceiling so you don’t accidentally touch or look at her. If she follows you around jumping on you, you can walk into another room and close the door. If someone else comes in that she jumps on, you can keep a leash on her and step on the leash to keep her from jumping, while both of you completely ignore her.

  2. Teach a new, incompatible behavior: At a different, calmer time, other than when you are returning from being out, teach her to Sit. If she is in the Sit position, she cannot also jump on you. To get a rock solid Sit from her that you can use when you come home, you may need to work on Sit for a few days in different locations, but especially by the door. Make sure she does not pop up immediately after you reward the Sit, but that she stays in place long enough for you to give a little affection. After she gets the concept of “Sit”, withhold the treat for a few seconds to ensure she will stay put.

    Once she has a rock solid Sit, then you can combine management with her new incompatible behavior to change her routine of jumping. Now whenever you return, ignore her until she calms down and ask her to Sit. If she Sits, reward and praise lavishly (but calmly so she doesn’t Jump Up!). If she doesn’t Sit, lure her into a Sit, then reward and praise.

If you consistently ignore Jumping Up and only reward Sitting anytime your dog would normally Jump, she will soon learn the only thing that earns what she really wants – your attention – is to Sit politely.

We recommend Dr. Sophia Yin’s Learn to Earn Program, the basis of which is Say Please by Sitting.