An Easy Way to Teach Dogs to Stop Jumping on People

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 10, 2023

stop jumping on people

For this Beverlywood dog training session we worked with German Shepherd / Border Collie mix Moody, sharing how to train dogs to stop jumping on people.

I made sure that I was holding plenty of treats in my hands when I arrived for the session. By holding high-value treats in my hands positioning them down and at my sides, Moody was more interested in sniffing then jumping. We were already off to an amazing start in the quest to get Moddy to stop jumping on people!

After she settled down, I sat down with her guardian to discuss some dog behavior fundamentals. Moody‘s guardian has already worked with another dog trainer so she had a marker word in place, she just hadn’t been using it recently. We went over a remedial loading exercise and used hand targeting to practice her timing.

Using a marked word consistently helps dogs better understand what we want and dont want from them. If the action is followed by a marker word and reward, the dog is more likely to repeat that behavior. This helps them form deseriable behavior patterns (habits) and also helps them feel more confident and secure as its clear what is wanted and will be rewarded.

Next we went over the importance of rewarding desired behaviors, something that I call celebrating. This is especially important if you have a dog that jumps up on people. Often we fail to teach our dogs the behavior we want them to demonstrate. Instead we just assume that they wouldn’t do what we don’t want them to do. It’s a very common mistakes that leads to many dog behavior problems; including jumping on people.

To us, jumping up on people is something we see as rude most of the time and we mistakenly assume dogs feel the same way. But dogs often jump up on one another when playing and for some enthusiastic greetings. But since dogs walking on 4 paws are around the same height, the jumping up isnt quite as pronounced as humans who stand upright on 2 feet.

By rewarding Moody when she chooses to sit, come to her guardian, lay down, give her eye contact, etc, her guardian can communicate the behaviors that she likes and will reward her dog for. Celebrating is super easy, but it only works if you do it consistently. It’s going to take the guardian some conscious effort to pet her dog when it offers these desired behaviors, but based on how much she loves her dog, I’m guessing she’ll be up to the task and celebrating these wanted actions on the regular in no time.

We also went over some cretive forms of exercise as Moody is a higher energy dog. Feeding out of snuffle mattes and puzzles, playing enrichment games like hiding treats in boxes or paper towel rolls or scent games like Cookie in the corner are all great ways to deplete excess energy which is a tip to stop dogs from jumping on strangers and guests. A well exercised dog often is interpreted as well behaved. But really, its just the human setting the dog up for success if you want to teach a dog to stop jumping on people.

How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on People

Stopping dogs from jumping up on people isn’t hard if you have a plan and take it one step at a time. There are also a number of tips you can use to stop dogs who like to jump up on people, but the best way to prevent your dog froom jumping up on people is to teach them how you want them to behave instead. I know it sounds overly simple, but sometimes the best solutions are the easiest ones.

If you have a serious dog jumping problem, training and rewarding your dog for offering an incompatible behavior is a great place to start. Think of it as teaching your dog greeting manners.

I decided to use an exercise that we went over earlier in the session to show the guardian how she can chain multiple cues to teach her dog a different behaviro to offer when meeting people.

If you have a dog that likes to jump up on people who come to your door, you should definitely check out the free positive tog training video below.

This is an easy way to stop a dog from jumping up on guests. But this hack to stop dog jumping works best if you practice when the dog is not excited. That means practicing many times over when you are not coming hom before you start to actually use this technique at the door with houseguests.

I would like to see the guardian practicing this hand targeting exercise at the door every time she comes home. Practicing 5 to 10 reps each time she comes through the door will help Moody practice the new desired behavior at the location she is used to jumping up on people.

Habits take time and practice to form. Same thing if you want to change a behavior. It takes about 3 months for a dog to develop a behavior pattern, so Moody’s guardian will need to practice this secret to stop dog jumping multiple times daily for a few months. Its an easy exercise and only takes less than a minte each time which is why this is such an effective way to stop dog jumping.

It was great to see how quickly Moody responded to this secret to stopping dogs from jumping on strangers. Of course this behavior will get better and better the more her guardian practices. I suggested the guardian practice this exercise 3 to 6 times a day in one to two minute practice sessions for the next 3 months to really establish a new non jumping behavior from the dog.

After a week of practicing without a guest, the guardian can invite a friend over who has watched the above video and takes direction well. It’s really important that you pick people who are going to cooperate and work with you anytime you’re trying to stop a dog from jumping up on houseguests.

We covered a number of other tips in this in-home west LA dog behavior training session. To help the guardian remember them all, we recorded a short roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr