Why Allowing Your Dog to Jump on You Can Hinder Proper Training

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How to Train Your Dog Not to Jump on You

Training your dog not to jump on you is essential for ensuring polite interactions and maintaining safety for both your pet and those around you. Dogs often jump up to greet people or seek attention, which can be cute when they’re puppies but becomes problematic as they grow. This guide will walk you through effective strategies to curb this behavior, ensuring a well-mannered dog.

Why Dogs Jump Up

Jumping is a natural canine behavior. Dogs often jump up to greet people face-to-face and gain attention. From a human perspective, this can be annoying and even dangerous, leading to soiled clothes or potential injuries, especially for seniors and children. Dogs repeat behaviors that earn them rewards, so any form of attention, whether positive or negative, can reinforce jumping.

How to Train an Alternative Greeting Behavior

To eliminate jumping, it’s crucial to remove the associated rewards and teach your dog an alternative greeting behavior. Here are some effective methods:

Training “Four on the Floor”

  1. Leash and Treats: Have your dog on a leash and someone approach.
  2. Toss Treats: Toss treats on the floor before the person reaches the dog.
  3. Greeting and Treating: Let the person greet the dog while it eats the treats.
  4. Back Away: Have the person back away before the dog finishes the treats.
  5. Extend Greeting Time: Gradually extend the greeting time, continuing to toss treats.
  6. Reduce Treat Frequency: Eventually, allow the dog to greet without immediately placing a treat, reducing the treat frequency as the dog learns the behavior.

Training “Sit” for Greetings

  1. Tethering: Tether the dog to a doorknob or furniture.
  2. Sit Command: From a distance, ask the dog to sit. Approach if it sits, turn away if it stands.
  3. Increase Excitement: Increase the excitement level of the approach as the dog gets better at sitting.
  4. Practice with Others: Practice with friends and family after the dog masters sitting with you.

Preventing Jumping While You Train

While training, it’s important to manage your dog’s behavior to prevent jumping opportunities. Here are some tips:

  1. Use Cues: Use cues like “go to your place” or tools like baby gates to manage the dog when guests arrive.
  2. Toys and Treats: Keep toys and treats at the doorway to distract the dog or reward appropriate greeting behaviors.
  3. Public Behavior: On walks, avoid allowing the dog to greet strangers until it understands appropriate behavior. Use attention-getting cues like “watch me” or squeak toys to manage behavior in public.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is crucial for the dog to learn that jumping up no longer garners attention. All family members and visitors should be consistent with the training methods to ensure the dog is only rewarded for appropriate greetings.

Teaching the “Sit” Command

Training your dog to sit when meeting new people is another effective strategy. Use treats to reward calm behavior. During greetings, wait for them to stop jumping before rewarding them, and use the sit command once they are calm.

Using Treats as Distractions

For particularly excitable dogs, scatter treats on the ground to distract them when they meet people, rewarding them for keeping all paws on the ground.

Preparedness on Walks and at Home

Always carry treats to reward good behavior during walks and with visitors. This helps reinforce polite behavior in various settings.

Enroll in Structured Training Programs

Consider enrolling your dog in structured training programs such as the 4-week courses offered by Dog School for puppies, adolescents, and adults (Dogs Trust).


Training your dog not to jump on you requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. By removing rewards for jumping, teaching alternative behaviors, and managing your dog’s environment, you can ensure polite interactions and a safer environment for everyone. Remember, the key to success lies in consistent training and rewarding calm behavior.

For more detailed guidance, you can refer to resources like the American Kennel Club and Dogs Trust.

By following these steps and remaining consistent, you’ll be well on your way to having a well-behaved dog that greets people politely without jumping.

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