Why Do Dogs Jump On Guests

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Introduction

If you are a dog owner, you’ve had at least one moment where your dog greeted your guests with more enthusiasm than you did. As you opened the door, he bolted from the back of the house to the front, almost slid into your guest, and once he regained his footing, he jumped and wagged his tail and tried to lick your friend’s face. It took some coaxing to get Killer to calm down, but eventually, he did.

While your dog was being the best greeter he knows how to be, his show of affection was not reciprocated, and your friend was even disgusted because she is not a fan of dogs. Now you have an awkward situation, with an uncomfortable friend and an eager dog. Sure, you could put your dog outside or in another room while she’s there, but why did he jump on her when a simple giving of the paw would have sufficed.

The Root of the Behavior

Killer is a lovable pup with boundless energy and he jumps on people when he meets them. There are a few reasons for his bouncy behavior. He is greeting the human like he would another dog, he is sniffing out your guest, or he is just excited. Dogs learned to greet each other as puppies by putting their faces next to each other and licking. When dogs do this, it is a sign of familiarity and submission. If you get a sloppy kiss on your cheek, consider yourself one of the pack. When puppies wanted their mother to drop their food, they would lick her face. This is one of the ways puppies learn to show submission. However, for your dog to reach your face and say, “Hi! Welcome!” he has to jump.

Your guest brings in a whole new smorgasbord of scents from where she’s been to what she’s eaten that day. You may not have anything in your teeth showing what you ate for lunch, but when Killer gets up close and personal, he can probably guess what you ate that day. He might also be searching for other pets’ scents, places, or familiar smells. A dog’s nose has 300 million olfactory receptors so he can smell things that you thought you already took care of. To put that in perspective, humans only have 6 million olfactory receptors. And Killer could just be excited. He will wag his tail and jump up and even land on your guest’s shoulders if he is tall enough. For him, it is fun to meet new people and he is welcoming your guest with open arms, literally. He might be accustomed to becoming energetic and excited when the doorknob turns for anyone or he might just like meeting new people because he knows he will get more playtime and maybe some treats. He gets himself so ready for the fun that he is just bursting at the seams with excitement.

Encouraging the Behavior

Killer is a lovable pup with boundless energy and he jumps on people when he meets them. There are a few reasons for his bouncy behavior. He is greeting the human-like he would another dog, he is sniffing out your guest, or he is just excited. Dogs learned to greet each other as puppies by putting their faces next to each other and licking. When dogs do this, it is a sign of familiarity and submission. If you get a sloppy kiss on your cheek, consider yourself one of the pack. When puppies wanted their mother to drop their food, they would lick her face. This is one of the ways puppies learn to show submission. However, for your dog to reach your face and say, “Hi! Welcome!” he has to jump.

Your guest brings in a whole new smorgasbord of scents from where she has been to what she’s eaten that day. You may not have anything in your teeth showing what you ate for lunch, but when Killer gets up close and personal, he can probably guess what you ate that day. He might also be searching for other pets’ scents, places, or familiar smells. A dog’s nose has 300 million olfactory receptors so he can smell things that you thought you already took care of. To put that in perspective, humans only have 6 million olfactory receptors. And Killer could just be excited. He will wag his tail and jump up and even land on your guest’s shoulders if he is tall enough. For him, it’s fun to meet new people and he is welcoming your guest with open arms, literally. He might be accustomed to becoming energetic and excited when the doorknob turns for anyone or he might just like meeting new people because he knows he will get more playtime and maybe some treats. He gets himself so ready for the fun that he is just bursting at the seams with excitement.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Your dog is your responsibility and if he is making people feel uncomfortable by jumping on them, it is your job to curb his behavior. If you find your dog is just super energetic while he waits at home for you or guests, make sure there’s something he can play with while he waits. A game of fetch or a walk around the block will help him get out excess energy and hopefully be calmer when guests pop in. No matter what, do not yell at Killer for jumping. His behavior might be unwelcome but speak to him in a firm tone with commands learned from a trainer. Reward him when he does the correct behavior. If you have ever shown affection and it was not reciprocated, it probably hurt your feelings and damaged your relationship. The same can happen to your dog. 

Conclusion

Not everyone wants a big ole kiss from a big ole dog, so work with Killer to tame his excitement when your friends come over. Teach your friends how to interact with him so they do not break his puppy dog heart, and always have a lint roller handy, especially if your dog sheds. After all that jumping and excitement, there is bound to be dog hair on your guest’s clothes.