A 4 Step Method of Stopping Dogs From Jumping on People

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 31, 2024

stopping dogs from jumping

We share the secret to stopping dogs from jumping on people for this at-home Brentwood dog training session with 3 year-old Cocker Spaniel mix Goldie.

I was quite relieved to see that Goldie seemed confident, friendly and comfortable meeting me. Her guardian mentioned that they had sent her to a board and train when she was a young puppy.

This is a common mistake many people make when they get a new puppy. But new puppies really need to spend time in their new home getting to know their family and developing social skills and confidence before they start formal obedience training. Just like human babies. We fist go to preschool, not 1st grade.

I was relieved because many board and train facilities utilize the old force and punishment based dog training methods that I’ve been discredited due to causing dogs to develop fear, anxiety, stress and sometimes reactivity.

Fortunately Goldie’s guardians recognized that using a shock collar was not appropriate and did not follow the advice of the board and train trainer. However, since the trainer had used one of those tools while she was at the board and train, that could easily be a contributing reason as to why Goldie is a bit of a Velcro dog and has a proclivity to licking people.

Dogs often lick the faces of dogs they want to make friends with, placate as well as to apologize. Licking can also have a biologic impact on the dog as this behavior can release oxytocin and serotonin into the dogs blood. These feel good hormones help dogs feel good and can also have an impact on their behavior; soothing and comforting them.

Licking can also be a bit of a coping mechanism as well as a way of communicating that they mean no harm or want to be friends. Since Goldie was most likely shocked repeatedly as a puppy while at the board and train, her licking behavior could be her attempt to head off potential punishment before it can begin.

Normally I would not have a problem with a dog licking to apologize, make friends or feel better. However, one of the humans in Goldie’s life is not a big fan of having their face licked. I’m hoping that this person will feel slightly differently about the behavior after learning the likely the reason Goldie does it.

To solve the licking problem, I recommended the guardians incorporate a lick mat or even spoons with peanut butter or cream cheese on them when Goldie is in a licking mood. Instead of correcting the behavior, sometimes it’s more effective to direct it to an appropriate vehicle.

Next I turned my attention to a number of dog behavior fundamentals. We introduced a marker word, use a hand targeting exercise to practice her guardians timing, went over the importance of celebrating desired behaviors as well as how to distract Goldie away from things they don’t want using the positive interrupter.

I also shared a few exercise tips. Many times over dogs behavior is impacted by not getting out all their excess energy. I recommended the guardians increase her exercise but also look for ways to incorporate impulse control and structure.

A good example of this is to ask for a basic obedience cue or two in between each fetch when playing that game. At first they can simply teach Goldie to drop the ball; then drop it and sit down, then drop it, sit and lay down before they throw the ball again. Often people amp up the energy and intensity of exercise and this can sometimes cause a dog to get a little bit out of control.

Adding more exercise and incorporating these impulse control components can help Goldie release her pent-up energy while also developing some better control. If you have a dog that jumps up on people, you definitely need to work on ways for them to learn to control themselves.

An Easy Way of Stopping Dogs from Jumping on People

Next we were ready to tackle this dog jumping problem. Many people get upset when their dog jumps up, labeling the dog as bad or misbehaved. But dogs often jump up because they are excited and or because they want to lick the face of the new person that is arriving. So the behavior itself comes from a positive and loving place, even if we don’t like it or interpret it that way.

Many dogs jump up on people because they have not been taught to greet them another way. As humans, we often confuse dogs by petting them or scolding them after they jump up. Either one of these interactions will reinforce the behavior since for dogs, all attention is rewarding.

If you don’t want a dog to do something, it’s important that you teach and train them to do the thing you want. I’ve developed an easy way of stopping dogs from jumping over he last 12 years and knew it woold help Goldie learn to stop jumping.

There are 4 steps to my preferred method of stopping dogs from jumping up. To help the guardians remember them all, I had them record this video of me training their dog to not jump up on people.

If your dog has a jumping problem, the free positive dog training video below will walk you through the step-by-step process of stopping dogs from jumping up on people.

Stopping dogs from jumping up on people is a multi part process. As mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that you are providing your dog with sufficient exercise. Often getting your dog a little bit of exercise before a guest arrives can help make the situation easier.

But the most important thing is to take your time and teach the dog the behavior you want them to offer instead. I suggested the guardians practice this tip to stop dog jumping a couple of times a day. You want to build success on top of success when you’re modifying a dog behavior. The best way to do this is short, one to two minute practice sessions three or more times a day.

Fortunately, Goldie is a very smart dog. She learned I wanted her to go to a new dog bed in a new location less than six repetitions. This is incredibly fast. While this means that it should be easier for the guardians to teach her to not jump up on people, it also means she needs mental stimulation on a daily basis to satisfy her higher level of intelligence.

I would love to see her guardians incorporate some basic obedience or even advanced training after they have taught her to stop jumping up on people. She is so smart I’m sure she will make her humans proud and they will also develop a number of things they can do to distract her away from jumping.

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This post was written by: David Codr