What to Do If My Dog Is Jumping

People often choose dogs as pets for their loving, enthusiastic personalities. But sometimes, your pet dog may display their zest for life with some unwanted behaviors, like jumping.  If your dog jumps up on people or furniture, training can help them handle their excitement differently. 

Why Do Dogs Jump?

Dogs express emotions and excitement with their body language.

When a dog jumps, most often they’re expressing their happiness to see their humans. Jumping is a common part of the canine greeting routine. 

If your dog notices that jumping up to greet someone gets them attention, good or bad, that might be enough to convince them to keep doing it. Dogs are easily trained to repeat behavior if it gets them a reward and jumping does just that. 

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

What to Do About Dogs Jumping on People

If your dog already has the habit of jumping on friends and strangers to say hello, take precautions to keep people safe. Even the friendliest dog can sometimes knock people over. Some people are afraid of dogs or they simply don’t want their clothes to get dirty. 

A few ways to train your dog not to jump to greet people include:

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

Training Your Dog to Stop Jumping

Training a dog to stop jumping is a little harder than training them 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, simply 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 do the same thing.

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If you have a family member or friend who can help with training, have treats on hand, and then have your training partner walk into the room with your dog. If your dog jumps, the other person needs to walk away immediately. But if your dog keeps all four feet on the floor, give them a treat and lots of attention. 

This treat helps teach your dog that staying on the ground is much more rewarding. 

What to Do About Dogs Jumping on Furniture

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

They like to get on couches and beds because that’s where people spend a lot of time. Your dog may just want to get some quality time with you. 

The other reason dogs like furniture is because it’s comfortable. If your dog’s favorite nap spot is on your sofa, try getting them a soft, cozy bed of their own to put next to it. This gives them an alternative place that’s just for them. 

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

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on July 07, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB: “How To Read Dog Body Language,” “How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up on People,” “Why Does My Dog Jump On Furniture?” 

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: “Stop your dog from jumping up.”

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience: “Awake canine fMRI predicts dogs’ preference for praise vs food.”

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